Madiwala area isolated after Delta suspicion
2 years ago
By Buddhika Samaraweera Travelling in the Pragathipura area in Madiwela has been restricted due to the identification of a person suspected to be infected with the Delta variant – the Indian B.1.617.2 variant – of Covid-19. When contacted by The Morning to inquire about this, Ministry of Health Deputy Director General of Public Health Services and Disaster Preparedness and Response Division Head Dr. Hemantha Herath said that according to the PCR test report of the patient concerned, some deviation in the Covid-19 virus was observed, which led to the suspicion that the said person had been infected with the Delta variant. “After identifying him as a Covid-19-infected patient, PCR tests were carried out on his relatives and residents of the area, and a household member of his was also found to be infected with the virus,” Dr. Herath noted. However, he said it was not yet clear as to whether they were infected with the Delta variant, adding that it could only be confirmed after performing gene sequencing. The Delta variant of Covid-19, which is said to be 50% more transmissible than the currently spreading Alpha (UK B.1.1.7 variant), was detected from a community sample for the first time in Sri Lanka, on 17 June. According to University of Sri Jayewardenepura Allergy, Immunology, and Cell Biology Unit Director Dr. Chandima Jeewandara, the variant had been detected from among five community samples obtained from the Dematagoda area in Colombo. Accordingly, although the travel restrictions imposed to control the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic were lifted at 4 a.m. on 21 June, the Aramaya Place and 66 Watta areas in the Dematagoda police area were placed under isolation. The Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) has planned to conduct a review after 14 days regarding the reopening of these areas. Meanwhile, CMC Chief Medical Officer Dr. Ruwan Wijayamuni said the CMC was aware that the Delta variant of Covid-19 could enter Colombo at any moment, as the number of Delta strain cases was increasing in neighbouring India, and that it could be detected by conducting special PCR tests in areas where the second wave of patients were reported. He was speaking at a special media briefing on Covid-19 at the Health Promotion Bureau on Monday (21). Dr. Wijayamuni said that after samples were sent to the university, it was reported that there were some suspicious samples among them. “The Dematagoda temple area is a very densely populated area and it is possible to enter and exit through Wanathamulla, Kolonnawa, etc. areas very quickly through this area,” he said. The doctor said that necessary steps had been taken to isolate the area and that the Police had deployed guards at Estates 66, 51, and 200 in the temple area to prevent anyone from going outside. Five of the 15 people diagnosed were infected with the Delta virus, three of whom lived in the same house and the other two in two neighbouring houses. The CMC Chief Medical Officer said that tests were carried out in densely populated areas such as Sirimuthu Uyana in the area where 278 people were tested and 15 infected persons were found to be infected with the common Alpha type. He said that although permission was sought from him to open the Dematagoda shopping mall, he had refused the request as it was too close to the temple area.