Island-wide lockdown ruled out as new variant found mostly in quarantine facilities

An island-wide lockdown has been ruled out as the new variant of the coronavirus has been found mostly in quarantine facilities, Army Commander, General Shavendra Silva said today.

He said that from around 16 people infected with the new variant, around 13 people are those in quarantine facilities.

General Shavendra Silva said that the others includes a resident of Avissawella and a person from the construction site at Havelock City.

He said that contact tracing is underway of the two people detected with the new variant outside quarantine facilities.

General Shavendra Silva said that appropriate measures will be taken to address the issue.

“We will take the most appropriate measures following extensive discussions,” General Shavendra Silva said today.

There had been reports over the weekend of an island-wide lockdown being considered to contain the spread of the new variant.

However, General Shavendra Silva said that while an island-wide lockdown has been ruled out, alternative steps will be considered.

Last week the new variant of Covid-19 belonging to the B.1.1.7 lineage found in the United Kingdom (UK), was detected in parts of Sri Lanka.

Director of the Department of Immunology and Molecular Medicine of the Sri Jayewardenepura University, Dr. Chandima Jeewandara said the virus variant was identified from samples received from Colombo, Avissawella, Biyagama and Vavuniya.

Dr. Jeewandara said the new variant of Covid-19 has a high transmission rate.

In January 2021, Sri Lanka reported that a new variant of the coronavirus found in the UK had entered Sri Lanka.

Thereafter, Dr. Chandima Jeewandara said another new variant similar to that which spread across Sweden, Germany, Denmark and Iceland has also been detected in Sri Lanka.

The B.1.1.7 lineage of COVID-19 identified from samples in Colombo, Avissawella, Biyagama and Vavuniya is the third variant to enter Sri Lanka. (Colombo Gazette)

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