Sri Lanka: New and ‘airborne’ COVID-19 strain discovered

Sri Lanka say that they have detected a new variant of COVID-19 which is highly transmissible and can remain airborne
Sri Lanka: New and ‘airborne’ COVID-19 strain discovered
Many countries across the globe have witnessed a new strain of COVID-19Image source: Pixabay

Colombo: A new coronavirus strain that is airborne and highly transmissible than all those found previously in Sri Lanka has been found in the island nation, as per a top immunologist based in Colombo.

According to Neelika Malavige, the Head of the Department of Immunology and Molecular Sciences of the Sri Jayawardenapura University, the new variant, is highly transmissible, can remain airborne for nearly for 60 minutes and is spreading fast.

"This variant of coronavirus is more highly transmissible than all found so far in the island. The new strain is airborne, the droplets can remain airborne for nearly an hour," Malavige was quoted as saying by PTI. Health authorities also feat that the new variant is spreading fast after last week's New Year celebrations with younger people getting infected.

Meanwhile, the ministry of COVID prevention declared new guidelines which would remain in force until May 31. The guidelines state a 50 per cent capacity operation for most institutions with all forms of festivities being banned. The country-wide cases which were around 150 before the mid-April New Year have now shot up to over 600 a day. Sri Lanka is also running out of its health care capacity, multiple report said. The government has also decided not to opt for lockdown, choosing instead to isolate particular areas that report high concentrations of cases and to bank on a progressively pandemic-fatigued public’s goodwill and cooperation in preventing an outbreak.

The island nation is reporting over 600 COVID-19 cases a day. Director General of Health Services Dr Asela Gunawardena has assured that hospitals in the nation still have enough ICU capacity to treat COVID-19 patients but people should adhere guidelines to avert the virus.

Sri Lanka is not the only country to have witnessed a new strain of COVID-19 but also other Asian nations such as India, Pakistan, Indonesia to name a few. However, so far, there have been no reports of the new Lankan strain infecting people outside the nation. At the moment, three strains of the coronavirus are the most commonly found ones all across the globe-- UK Strain (B.1.1.7 Variant), South African Strain (B.1.351 Variant) and Brazilian Strain (P.1 Variant).

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