- Total COVID-19 detections rise to 498,694
- Burden on health system will ease only when daily detections drop to 100: Dr. Hemantha Herath
- 12 black fungus cases detected among COVID-19 patients since June
- Fully-vaccinated Sri Lankan travellers not required to undergo hotel quarantine starting next week
By Shailendree Wickrama Adittiya
COVID-19 detections in the country rose to 498,694 with the detection of 2,271 COVID-19 cases yesterday.
Despite daily COVID-19 detections gradually dropping from 3,828 at the beginning of the month to less than 2,300 yesterday, Health Services Deputy Director Dr. Hemantha Herath said this is still too high a number of daily detections for the health system to bear.
“There was a time when not a single patient was detected within the country and only overseas arrivals tested positive. This is the ideal situation we must achieve. I do not know how successful we will be in this but there was a time after that when 100 patients were reported daily. If we can reach this level, we can breathe a sigh of relief,” he said.
The patients detected yesterday were from the New Year cluster. A total of 9,672 PCR tests were carried out yesterday. According to the Health Promotion Bureau, 11,033 PCR tests and 4,486 rapid antigen tests were carried out the day before.
On Wednesday, 2,314 COVID-19 patients were detected, including 2,306 persons from the New Year cluster and eight persons from the Prisons cluster.
The New Year cluster has a total patient count of 393,105 and the Prisons cluster has a total patient count of 8,355. The country’s local cases also include 82,785 persons from the Peliyagoda cluster and 3,059 persons from the Divulapitiya cluster.
Sri Lanka’s imported cases consist of 6,877 Sri Lankans and 328 foreigners.
According to the Epidemiology Unit, 107,241 COVID-19 patients from Colombo, 89,250 patients from Gampaha, 48,938 patients from Kalutara, 28,342 patients from Galle, and 23,813 patients from Kurunegala have been detected to date.
During the third wave, 74,944 persons from Colombo, 70,716 persons from Gampaha, and 41,880 persons from Kalutara have tested positive for COVID-19.
The Epidemiology Unit adds that 58,287 persons are currently under medical or home-based care and 2,705 persons suspected of having COVID-19 are under observation.
According to Dr. Primali Jayasekara of the Mycology Department of the Medical Research Institute, 12 COVID-19 patients with black fungus or mucormycosis infection have been reported in Sri Lanka since June.
Two patients from Ratnapura and two patients from Trincomalee were detected in June, one patient from Trincomalee was detected in July, and two patients from the National Hospital of Sri Lanka (NHSL) were detected in August, she said.
Two black fungus cases from the NHSL, one from Ratnapura, one from Karapitiya, and one from Kalubowila have been reported thus far this month. Meanwhile, the country’s COVID-19 recoveries rose to 428,590 with 1,336 persons leaving hospitals yesterday.
According to Health Minister Keheliya Rambukwella, Sri Lankans returning to the country who are fully-vaccinated with a COVID-19 vaccine approved by the World Health Organization will not be required to quarantine at a hotel as they await PCR results.
He said the test will be conducted by the Health Ministry at Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) immediately starting next week and all arrivals with a negative result will be released.
Rambukwella added that this measure eliminates the cost of hotel quarantine, which is typically borne by the traveller, as well as the time spent waiting for the PCR result.