Omicron not yet detected in SL, testing to continue: Health officials

Tuesday, 30 November 2021 02:27 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

  • 747 persons test positive for COVID-19
  • Total patient count rises to 563,267
  • 8,899 persons under medical or home-based care
  • Recoveries rise to 540,040
  • Over 9,000 patients who completed home-based care added to total


By Shailendree Wickrama Adittiya

Health officials yesterday said that recently discovered COVID-19 variant ‘Omicron’ is yet to be detected in the country but that testing is carried out continuously.

When asked if the Omicron variant has been detected in Sri Lanka, Deputy Director of Health Services Dr. Hemantha Herath said: “Gene sequencing is being carried out continuously in the country and until it is detected from a sample, we cannot confirm this.”

According to Medical Research Institute (MRI) Consultant Virologist Dr. Nadeeka Janage, data on Omicron is insufficient to make any definitions of the variant’s behaviour.

“This new genetic composition has been named as a new variant, Omicron, and it has been predicted that it could have an impact globally,” Dr. Janage said.

He explained that questions about the variant evading vaccines does not mean vaccines themselves are useless. 

“The main weapon we have when facing new variants is vaccination. Our country has a good vaccination rate,” Dr. Janage explained.

While measures will be taken to prevent the spread of the variant in the country, health officials urged the public to adhere to safety guidelines at all times.

Separately COVID-19 detections rose to 563,267 with 747 persons testing positive yesterday.

Latest COVID-19 patients detected include 745 persons from the New Year cluster and two overseas arrivals.

On Sunday, 742 patients were detected from the New Year cluster, and 8,035 PCR tests and 3,839 rapid antigen tests were performed.The total number of patients detected from the New Year cluster is 458,405 and the country’s local cases also include 82,785 persons from the Peliyagoda cluster, 9,054 persons from the Prisons cluster, and 3,059 persons from the Divulapitiya cluster.

The Epidemiology Unit states that 6,975 Sri Lankans and 328 foreigners make up the country’s imported cases.

The district distribution of COVID-19 patients shows 114,960 persons from Colombo, 98,200 persons from Gampaha, 52,905 persons from Kalutara, 35,330 persons from Galle, and 27,295 persons from Kurunegala.

During the third wave of the pandemic, 82,663 persons from Colombo, 79,666 persons from Gampaha, and 45,847 persons from Kalutara tested positive for COVID-19.

At present, 8,899 persons are under medical or home-based care and 2,258 persons suspected of having COVID-19 are under observation.

According to the Epidemiology Unit, 415 persons were released from care yesterday and the country’s COVID-19 recoveries have risen to 540,040.

The Epidemiology Unit adds that 9,963 persons who completed home-based care for 10 days without requiring hospitalisation between 9 November and 28 November were added to the total recoveries yesterday.