Sri Lanka is heading to fourth wave of COVID outbreak - SLMA President

Sri Lanka is heading to fourth wave of COVID outbreak -  SLMA President

The Sri Lanka Medical Association (SLMA) warned that the country is heading towards the first phase of the COVID-19 fourth wave outbreak,

Addressing the media, SLMA President Dr. Padma Gunaratne yesterday said that  there is an imminent threat of a fourth wave outbreak and warned the general public of this.

SLMA predicted that the highly contagious Indian Delta (B.1.617.2) variant, which has already been detected in five Districts in the Western, Northern and Southern Provinces, would spread within two to four weeks throughout the country.

“Currently, the Colombo area reports that 30% of its infections are from the Delta variant. If we act like normal life has resumed, the Delta variant will spread in two to four weeks within the entire country,” further warned Dr. Gunaratne.

She cautioned that relying purely on vaccination without the necessary vigilance could prove to be a mistake.

She said, despite the travel restrictions, there was no significant decline in the number of COVID positive cases. 

“Despite the strict travel restrictions which were imposed in the country in May, there was never a huge reduction of patients that was recorded. However, the data we are receiving now from hospitals has made us conclude that we are now at the beginning of the fourth wave. The National Hospital of Sri Lanka (NHSL) records about 200 Covid-19 patients per day, about 100 of whom require oxygen (O2) supply support. We assume that there are approximately 10,000 infected patients in the country, based on estimates from the currently available data,”  Dr. Padma Gunaratne said.

“If we are only placing our trust in vaccines and expecting normal life to resume, that is a myth. The public must be extra cautious when frequenting enclosed spaces, especially weddings, religious places, attending religious and cultural events, cinemas, using public transport services, enjoying musical events in closed spaces, restaurants, and bars. The elderly and those suffering from chronic diseases are the most affected by the disease and as such must obtain the vaccine and be careful, even after getting the vaccination.” She added.

Responding to claims made by Sri Lanka Medical Association (SLMA) that the country is on the verge of facing a fourth wave, the Health Ministry today said there was no sign as of now to say that the country is heading to a fourth wave.

Health Promotion Bureau Director Dr Ranjith Batuwanthudawa said the country is currently at the final phase of the third wave.

The Director said according to the epidemic curve, there is a downward trend in COVID-19 infections at the moment and added hence, they couldn’t come to the conclusion that there is a imminent threat of a fourth wave.

“However, everything depends of how people behave especially in a situation where restrictions have almost been eased,” he added