Amid fourth wave fears, Sri Lanka to widen vaccine net
14th Aug, 2021
In the middle of fourth wave fears, Sri Lanka will expand its vaccination network
In the wake of a significant increase in daily COVID-19 infections and deaths over the past week, Sri Lanka has decided to expand its vaccination campaign rather than locking up the country during a severe financial crisis.
Health officials reported 156 deaths on Wednesday, the highest day ever recorded in the country. Daily cases average 3,000, compared to an increase in May, when Sri Lanka experienced a third wave and was spotted in the delta variant community.
President Gotabhaya Rajapaksa on Friday directed health officials to pay special attention to people over the age of 60 and those suffering from "chronic non-communicable diseases", according to a statement from the president's media department. His orders follow an analysis of recent COVID-19 deaths, the statement said. The government opposes a full lockdown this year, citing economic pressure on the people and the national economy.
However, medical experts have called for urgent action, including strict mobility restrictions, to control the current rise in cases that are already plaguing the country’s health sector.
As of August 12, the PCR-test positivity rate was 16.7 percent, according to the Colombo-based research firm Institute for Health Policy. Over the past two months, Sri Lanka has been conducting less than 2,000 PCR tests per day, according to its data. . Last week, the Sri Lanka Medical Association warned the government, especially in the western province of Colombo, that the "rapid increase" in cases had reached a "critical point". Medical experts note that vaccine restrictions may increase the challenge of preventing "inadequate coverage" and the delta variant in individuals under 30 years of age. So far more than 4 million people or only one-fifth of the country’s population have received two doses of the vaccine. Most of them got the sinopharm vaccine from China.