Sri Lanka taking steps to prevent Omicron from entering the country

Sri Lanka taking steps to prevent Omicron from entering the country

Sri Lanka taking steps to prevent Omicron from entering the country

Written by Zulfick Farzan

28 Nov, 2021 | 8:46 am

COLOMBO (News 1st); Sri Lanka has decided to expedite the process to detect the new COVID-19 variant.

Dr. Chandima Jeewandara, the head of the Department of Immunology and Molecular Biology at Sri Jayewardenepura University speaking to News 1st said the new variant can be detected from PCR tests and that the Health Ministry is taking measures to prevent the variant from entering Sri Lanka.

“There are about 30 S-gene mutations of this variant. 10 mutations can cause the spread of the virus. This may spread faster than the Delta variant because of the high variants. Through PCR tests, we can identify whether this variant is there in Sri Lanka. Any lab testing the samples can identify that,” he added.

The United Kingdom, Germany and Italy have confirmed their first two cases of the new Omicron strain of coronavirus.

The variant has prompted several countries to impose restrictions such as travel bans on several southern African countries, against the advice of the World Health Organization, while others have imposed fresh lockdowns to contain the spread of COVID-19.

The Omicron variant, which scientists say has a high number of mutations, was first detected in South Africa last week. Cases have also been reported in travellers in Belgium, Israel and Hong Kong.

The mutations in Omicron, also known as B.1.1.529, could help the virus evade the body’s immune response and make it more transmissible, according to scientists. It could take weeks to know if current vaccines are less effective against it.

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