The Indian variant of COVID-19 known as Delta is on the verge of becoming the dominant strain in Sri Lanka, within the coming months, Association of Medical Specialists (AMS) President LakKumar Fernando warned.
He told Daily Mirror that with what we have seen from other parts of the world, it could be concluded that the Indian variant would be dominant owing to the spread of the variant and its high transmissibility compared to others strains.
“In such a backdrop, it is baffling to see the local medicinal authorities granting approval for the COVID-19 vaccines that are not backed by sufficient data on Delta variant, whereas other countries are going with vaccines that are suitable to fight against the variant,” he pointed out.
Moreover, Dr Fernando raised the necessity and importance of reviewing the prevailing relaxation of travel restrictions in such a juncture where the COVID-19 situation seems to be going bad to worse.
Commenting on the vaccination drive in the country, he said it stands at a satisfactory level, specially with the high number of daily vaccinnation; however there are some issues about giving priorities.
“We are of the opinion that it is much appropriate to distribute vaccines based on age related efficacy, selecting which one is the best to reduce deaths in those age groups, according to the global standards rather distributing the vaccines on provincial basis,” Dr Fernando underlined.
"The access to some vaccines like Pfizer seems to have issues of transparecy at least to some extent that needs to be looked into," he added.
“Therefore, we urge the authorities to pay attention on adopting such a suitable method of vaccination.
Moreover, he said it's essential that enforcement of social distancing rules be re-looked at while the current official guidelines also need changes to face the impending spread of the Delta variant.
"The permitted numbers for social gatherings like weddings etc may need to be reduced to avoid super spreading events. If well thought about sustainable changes are not brought about soon also balancing only what's essential for the economy, we may lose what we have achieved so far and further spread of Delta variant would be inevitable," Dr Fernando added.
Meanwhile, Deputy Director-General of Health Services Dr Hemantha Herath said they were taking all preventive and precautionary measures to prevent a major havoc in the country with the detection of several cases of Indian variant.
“The Health officials cannot control the spread of the virus alone. We do need the support of the general public that they should adhere to health guidelines and practices,” he stressed.
Dr Herath also said restrictions could be revised accordingly as per the patterns of the virus and the number COVID-19 cases in the country. (Sheain Fernandopulle)