- Sri Lanka has said it won’t impose lockdown restrictions despite rising COVID cases and deaths.
- Curfews and a lockdown are a “last resort” for the nation, said an official.
- Daily COVID-related deaths have more than doubled in the last few weeks, surging to 118 on Tuesday.
Sri Lanka’s government is holding off on lockdown restrictions, it said Tuesday, even as the country’s COVID cases and deaths surge and its morgues struggle to clear a backlog of corpses.
Instead, the nation is pushing forward in its goal to vaccinate everyone below the age of 18 by September, said Government spokesman and Media Minister Keheliya Rambukwella, according to AFP. At least 11 million of its 21.8 million population has received one shot of the vaccine so far.
After the vaccination drive finishes, the situation “is in the hands of the gods,” he said.
In the meantime, Sri Lanka has not reached a critical stage where the country must impose a lockdown, said Rambukwella. “Curfews or a lockdown is the last resort, but we are not there yet,” he said.
Minister Rambukwella and the Sri Lankan Ministry of Mass Media did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
The Delta variant in Sri Lanka, particularly in the capital of Colombo, has been described by a junior health minister as a “powerful bomb which has exploded” in the capital and is spreading elsewhere.
COVID-related fatalities there have more than doubled in the last few weeks to reach 118 deaths on Tuesday, and daily cases have spiked to almost 3,000.
Medical facilities and mortuaries are struggling to keep up. A viral Facebook post by local news anchor Thilakshani Maduwanthi said that at one hospital, three COVID patients were sharing one bed. She posted photos of patients supposedly being treated under trees on overcrowded hospital grounds.
“Now, I see the news I was told about India with my own eyes,” she wrote.
The Sri Lankan government held mass cremations last weekend after Colombo’s main hospital ran out of freezer space for dead bodies, and corpses were being piled onto trolleys and tables. Crematoriums there were reportedly working non-stop to cope with the rapid influx of bodies.
Last week, the Sri Lankan Medical Association issued a letter to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, expressing “grave concern” about the virus’ escalation in the country and the lack of medical facilities to house COVID patients. It called for the government to “take immediate measures” to protect the health system.
The government on Friday banned state ceremonies and public gatherings until September 1, but shopping, dining, and working from offices are still allowed in Sri Lanka.
Courtesy By INSIDER