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SL heading for worst medical tsunami in coming weeks from Delta wave

4 August 2021 07:19 am - 21     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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  • Sequencing of selected samples shows 20 to 30 percent Delta positivity in Colombo in mid-july.has increased to 75 percent by the end of July
  • Initially per ward was equipped with 4 oxygen-equipped beds which was later tripled to 12 beds per ward and with the influx of patients in recent weeks, these beds are also falling short.
  • We are struggling to give these patients oxygen not because we lack oxygen but because we did not expect this much of patients. We were ready with oxygen beds but this is beyond imagination," a doctor said
  • Sri Lanka's record of vaccinating its citizens above the age of 30 is one of the best in the world but with the country now opening up, there is a risk of people from the other provinces carrying Delta variant to those provinces
  • Doctors warn of more patients and deaths in the coming weeks and months.
  • Only the University of Sri Jayawardenapura that is equipped to carry out the sequencing of samples.
  • Doctors have suggested to not remove the mask in closed spaces and even to drink water, they should go out.

Sri Lanka is heading for its worst medical tsunami in the coming weeks as there is a risk that the Delta variant is spreading beyond control, leading medical experts told Daily Mirror yesterday.

Senior physicians at the forefront of the COVID-19 pandemic said that hospitals across the Western Province were filled to its brim and more than 2/3rd of the patients presently were oxygen-dependent.

At the Colombo General Hospital alone, all medical wards had been taken to treat COVID-19 patients and till last morning alone, there were 610 COVID positive patients at the National Hospital.

Initially per ward was equipped with four oxygen-equipped beds, which was later tripled to 12 beds per ward. However, with the influx of patients in recent weeks, these beds are also falling short.

“We are struggling to give these patients oxygen not because we lack oxygen, but because we did not expect this much of patients. We were ready with oxygen beds, but this is beyond imagination,” a doctor said.

“I foresee in near future we will have more patients who need oxygen and we will not be able to provide them with oxygen,” the doctor added.

Doctors involved in the battle say that with the present variant suspected to be Delta, in another month Sri Lanka may be headed for its worst medical disaster.

To date, the worst medical disaster Sri Lanka has recorded was when the malaria epidemic spread in 19341935, killing an estimated 80,000 people. At that time, one in every 20 people in Sri Lanka had died from the disease.

However, with Delta creating global havoc, doctors fear the COVID19 spread in the coming weeks, will be worse than the malaria epidemic.

Colombo has been identified as the hotspot for the Delta variant with Professor in Department of Immunology and Molecular Medicine, Faculty of Medical Sciences, Neelika Malavige saying that following sequencing of selected samples in Colombo and suburbs, 20 to 30 per cent of the samples tested positive for the Delta variant by the second week of July. By the end of July, this increased to 75 per cent. She told Daily Mirror that sequencing was now going on from elsewhere in the country as well but this will not reflect the actual situation.

Doctors believe that the sudden rise of patients in the Western Province is from the Delta but presently it is only the University of Sri Jayewardenepura that is equipped to carry out the sequencing of samples. The Health Ministry will soon begin this as well.

Doctors have added that those who have been vaccinated with only one dose are at a higher risk from the Delta variant, and have urged people to get their vaccinations as soon as possible. Presently, Sri Lanka’s record of vaccinating its citizens above the age of 30 is one of the best in the world, with the government confident of vaccinating the targeted population with at least the first dose by end of August. However, doctors said that with the country now opening up, people from the other provinces who visit Colombo risk carrying the Delta variant back to those provinces which will cause a further disaster. But with Delta having already made its landfall here, doctors said the country will now have to go through the disaster. They have warned of more infected patients and more deaths caused by the virus in the coming weeks and months.

Medical experts have urged people to wear a tight-fitting mask, and avoid the loose ones, and avoid sitting together for meals inside closed spaces. In fact, they have suggested to not remove the mask in closed spaces and even to drink water, they should go out. People have also been urged to restrict their movements as much as possible.(JAMILA HUSAIN)

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  Comments - 21

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  • University Lecturer , Maths Department, Colombo Wednesday, 04 August 2021 07:54 AM

    Hundreds of thousands of Sri Lankans are going to die because of this INDIAN VARIANT CALLED THE DELTA VARIANT, yet there are some Sri Lankans trying to defend India. Keep defending India until your families are wiped out by this Indian Variant.

    Jeyawardana Wednesday, 04 August 2021 08:06 AM

    You have hit the nail on the head.

    Rohan Sam Wednesday, 04 August 2021 10:00 AM

    You as an University Maths Lecturer seem to have got it all wrong. The Delta Variant is none other than the variant of the Chinese origin virus, so your argument should also extend to China. Don't stir up hatred, the issues on hand in Sri Lanka are enough and more. University Lecturers should be more cautious in their public statements!

    Devinda Wednesday, 04 August 2021 10:03 AM

    Shouldn't we blame China then in the first place?

    Roisin Wednesday, 04 August 2021 11:01 AM

    Sri Lanka will never develope when you teach students to be hateful and narrowminded.

    Dee Wednesday, 04 August 2021 02:07 PM

    Good luck to all those who studied under you!

    Be Fair Wednesday, 04 August 2021 09:45 AM

    But there is NO Community Spread yet

    Muthutantri Fernando Wednesday, 04 August 2021 09:47 AM

    no point blaming india. we should know how to protect our country.

    Ds Wednesday, 04 August 2021 10:08 AM

    What about China who introduced this pandemic? Why are you selective?

    Neil Wednesday, 04 August 2021 10:18 AM

    When the covid numbers are increasing exponentially, calling public employees for work is nothing but idiotic. Sri Lankan decision makers are so stupid.

    Roshanaly Wednesday, 04 August 2021 10:40 AM

    Don't blame India, first blame the China for spreading this Corona, this Indian Delta Variant has already spread across the world, but still you allow the passenger to arrive with only PCR test done at the time of arrival.

    LankanLover Wednesday, 04 August 2021 12:33 PM

    Well, Sri Lankan Government is to be blamed, Why allowing the visitors from Outside in the first place? We are truly wonder of Asia.

    Ranjith Wednesday, 04 August 2021 12:45 PM

    its a race between vaccine rollout and spreading of Delta virus and less focus on PCR test lets see where we have gone wrong as usual

    Fortunate Wednesday, 04 August 2021 12:46 PM

    Birth place of corana is China and it takes rebirth all over the world in different names. We are well accustomed with tsunami and this corana tsunami is going to be a another fortune for some people as in the case Tsunami that destroyed the lives of many Asians.

    Zero divided by zero Wednesday, 04 August 2021 01:05 PM

    # University Lecturer. Maths Dept. Your calculations are wrong. Don't insult the University

    Ali Wednesday, 04 August 2021 01:57 PM

    China virus started in a lab. China lied people died. We need China to pay compensation.

    Mahesh Wednesday, 04 August 2021 02:18 PM

    Weddings are one of the major breeding grounds. If the government cannot ban weddings and other functions,at least apply certain restrictions. For example allow only a maximum of 25 with relatives only after a rapid antigen test. Also People are inviting friends all over the country for weddings and this leads to a major issue. This should be banned or limited. Already many known weddings have reported positive cases due to poor restrictions.

    Dilshan Viduranga Wednesday, 04 August 2021 02:18 PM

    All the thank goese to Mr.Gotabaya, his clan and to the oposition parties who lead this to a choase from the first place. Dear people when will you remove your colord eye glasses ? Are you that much dumb to belive these politics ? Ths a disgrase to your parents people...My dear frends can we stop bing stupid for one last time and think about our selvs ?

    Kana Wednesday, 04 August 2021 02:21 PM

    China teaching our leadership

    DGee Wednesday, 04 August 2021 02:23 PM

    As of Aug 01, Spore vaccinated 77% of population 1 dose, 62% 2 doses. Aged 70

    Bandara Wednesday, 04 August 2021 03:49 PM

    This is not because of India its because of China. China should pay compensation


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