Community spread of Indian variant in Sri Lanka not expected

The Government says it does not anticipate a community spread of the Indian variant of the coronavirus in Sri Lanka.

Cabinet co- spokesman Minister Udaya Gammanpila told reporters today that the B.1.617 variant spreading in India was detected on an individual undergoing quarantine at a Government quarantine centre.

He said that State Minister of Primary Health Care, Epidemics and COVID Disease Control, Dr. Sudarshini Fernandopulle had confirmed that as the detection was made at a quarantine centre, this does not pose a threat of a community spread.

Dr. Sudarshini Fernandopulle has said this was so as the individual infected with the Indian variant has not been exposed to the community. 

Meanwhile, the United Nations (UN) had warned that vaccination is not a guarantee and that the B.1.617  variant spreading in India could breach vaccine protection.  

UN World Health Organisation (WHO) chief scientist, Soumya Swaminathan told a foreign news agency that the epidemiological features of the variant, B.1.617 is deadlier than the original virus, quickly transmitted, and can often move past vaccine protections.

The Indian Covid variant is the latest to be detected in Sri Lanka.

Variants of the virus spreading in the United Kingdom, South Africa, and Denmark have already been detected on passengers who have arrived in Sri Lanka from overseas.

Health authorities have also confirmed that the Covid variant causing the spread of the third wave in Sri Lanka has been confirmed as that found in the United Kingdom. (Colombo Gazette)