738 persons test positive for COVID-19

Friday, 3 December 2021 00:20 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

  • 7,836 PCR tests conducted on Wednesday
  • Total patient count rises to 565,471
  • Samples of high-risk travellers sent for testing
  • Report expected during the weekend

By Shailendree Wickrama Adittiya

Sri Lanka’s COVID-19 detections rose to 565,471 with 738 persons testing positive for COVID-19 yesterday.

The patients detected yesterday include 735 persons from the New Year cluster and three overseas arrivals. According to the Health Promotion Bureau, 7,836 PCR tests were performed on Wednesday.

The previous day, 8,815 PCR tests and 5,110 rapid antigen tests were conducted and 744 persons from the New Year cluster tested positive for COVID-19.

In total, 460,613 patients from the New Year cluster, 82,785 patients from the Peliyagoda cluster, 9,054 patients from the Prisons cluster, and 3,059 patients from the Divulapitiya cluster have been detected.

In terms of imported cases, 6,980 Sri Lankans and 328 foreigners have tested positive for COVID-19.

The district distribution of COVID-19 patients shows 115,195 persons from Colombo, 98,417 persons from Gampaha, 53,017 persons from Kalutara, 35,483 persons from Galle, and 27,504 persons from Kurunegala.

During the third wave of the pandemic, 82,898 persons from Colombo, 79,883 persons from Gampaha, and 45,959 persons from Kalutara have tested positive for COVID-19.

At present, 9,948 persons are under medical or home-based care and 2,666 persons suspected of having COVID-19 are under observation.

The Epidemiology Unit states that 341 persons were released from care yesterday, raising the country’s COVID-19 recoveries to 541,124.

With the Omicron variant being detected in several countries, concerns have been raised about the situation in Sri Lanka.

According to Sri Jayewardenepura University Immunology and Molecular Medicine Department Head Prof. Neelika Malavige, the Omicron variant could spread faster than the previous four variants and those who have already been infected may contract it as well.

However, a clearer picture of the variant’s behaviour can be gained in the next two weeks, she said, adding that those with high immunity need not worry about these mutations.

Meanwhile, Dr. Chandima Jeewandara of the Sri Jayewardenepura University’s Immunology and Molecular Medicine Department said that high vaccination rates as well as added immunity through the booster dose meant there was no need to develop an unnecessary fear of the Omicron variant.

“The Health Ministry sends us samples of overseas arrivals to test if it is of the Omicron variant. We expect to complete these tests by [today] and submit the report during the weekend,” he added.

According to Health Services Deputy Director Dr. Hemantha Herath, Omicron cannot be detected without genetic sequencing, which is why the samples of high-risk arrivals at BIA are being sent for testing.

Stressing the importance of adhering to safety guidelines, Health Ministry Secretary Dr. S.H. Munasinghe yesterday said Rs. 113 billion has been spent on COVID-19 efforts thus far. This includes Rs. 66.39 billion for COVID-19 vaccines, including the booster doses ordered, Rs. 6 billion for medical equipment, Rs. 12.8 billion for laboratory services, and Rs. 15.7 billion for medicine.