Apr 28, 2021

Sri Lanka's new variant is B117 which was found in UK Featured

TheCOVID-19 variant currently spreading in Sri Lanka has been confirmed to be thevariant spreading in the UK, which is B117,said Dr. Chandima Jeewandara, Director of the Departmentof Immunology and Molecular Medicine of Sri Jayewardenepura University.He said the university carried out genetic sequences to identify the currently circulating virus strains in SriLanka.

"Today morning have confirmed that the currently circulating viral strain is B117_ that is the UK variant _ exactly similar to the one which was found in the UK," said Dr. Jeewandara at a media briefing.

He said the variant was found in samples obtained from Colombo, Boralesgamuwa and Kurunegala.He said the strain has 5 per cent mortality rate and 50 per cent high transmissibility compared to the virus previously known in Sri Lanka. It poses a huge risk to the young generation.

 said the tests done on samples obtained  from three different areas have confirmed that“the currently circulating viral strain is B117_ the UK variant _ that is exactlysimilar to the one which was found in UK.”

His comments came as theisland nation detected1111 COVID-19 cases during the last 24 hours _ thehighest ever positive cases to be reported within a day since the virus wasfirst detected in last year’s March.The number of positive cases have goneup by three to four times in the last five days in Sri Lanka.

For severalweeks, the number of cases stood below 300, but the figure rose to 1111 duringthe past 24 hours.The highest number of patients arereported from the Colombo district which includes the capital Colombo.

Health officials have warned that theconfirmed cases could go up rapidly in the next two weeks because thecelebrations and shopping by the people during the traditional new year festivalthat fell on April 14.

The government has closed down schoolsall over the country while only half of the state employees are called to workwith the rest being asked to work from home.

Separately, the government has imposedlockdowns several dozens of villages in different parts of the country. Sri Lanka is still in the midst of thesecond wave of the COVID-19 that erupted in last year’s October after twoclusters _ one centered on a garment factory and other on the fish market _emerged in the capital Colombo and it’s suburbs.Sri Lanka’s total number of positivecases since March have reached 102,376 with 642 fatalities.