(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) – National Operation Centre for the Prevention of COVID-19 Head, Army Commander General Shavendra Silva yesterday confirmed that there is no plan to lock the country down despite several cases of the new Coronavirus UK variant (B. 1.1.7) being detected.
He dismissed reports of a possible lockdown as just being rumours floated on social media. Gen. Silva told the Daily News that all possible measures will be taken based on health directives in order to control the new Coronavirus variants.
He said the situation is currently being observed very carefully. “There is a concern regarding a new COVID variant which had been detected from several areas. Discussions are underway in this regard and all possible measures will be taken to control this situation. With the COVID vaccines expected shortly, we will take all possible measures to control the situation together with the Health authorities. ”The Army Commander stressed that no decision has been taken regarding another lockdown, but said that action would be taken based on health sector directives if the need arises. “Every possible course of action would be taken to prevent the further spread of the COVID-19 virus,” Gen. Silva assured.
Last week, a new variant of Covid-19 belonging to the B. 1.1.7 lineage first found in the UK, was detected in several parts of Sri Lanka. This variant has now been found in 82 countries.
Sri Jayawardanapura University’s Immunology and Molecular Medicine Department Director Dr. Chandima Jeewandara said the new virus variant was identified from samples received from Colombo, Avissawella, Biyagama and Vavuniya after genomic sequencing.
Dr. Jeewandara said the new variant of COVID-19 has a high transmissibility and scientists in the UK say it could be more lethal.
In January 2021, the health authorities reported that a new variant of the coronavirus found in the UK had entered Sri Lanka.
Several new variants of the Coronavirus are circulating around the world, after having been first reported from Kent (UK), Brazil (P.1 lineage) and South Africa (B.1.351 lineage). Concerns have been raised whether the current vaccines would be effective against the new variants, but vaccine makers say that tests have proved their general effectiveness against all variants. However, more research is being undertaken in this regard. In the meantime many countries including Sri Lanka have banned inbound flights from the UK and some have banned flights from South Africa and Brazil.