Urgent vaccination vital to avert critical situation

BY Buddhika Samaraweera

The Health Ministry has reiterated that a possible critical situation in terms of the Covid-19 pandemic in the coming weeks can only be avoided by obtaining the Covid-19 vaccines as soon as possible.

Speaking at a media briefing held yesterday (26), Health Ministry Communications Director, Public Health Services Deputy Director General, and Disaster Preparedness and Response Division Head Dr. Hemantha Herath said: “Some people are reluctant to get the Covid-19 vaccines. As a result, a large number of people have not yet been vaccinated which is risky for everyone.” 

Emphasising the need for such unvaccinated persons to obtain the Covid-19 vaccines as soon as possible, he noted that a critical situation in terms of the Covid-19 infections in the country can only be prevented by resorting to vaccination at the earliest.

The number of Covid-19 infections reported daily in Sri Lanka has increased significantly at present, according to the Epidemiology Unit, with daily caseloads surpassing 800 for the seventh consecutive day on 25 January. Over the past few weeks, 600 to 700 cases of Covid-19 infections have been reported daily, but the highest number of Covid-19 infections recorded in the last few days was 891 on 25 January. In addition, 877 cases were reported on 24 January, 838 on 23 January, 845 on 22 January, 840 on 21 January, 827 on 20 January, and 829 on 19 January.

Assuming that more than 50% of the reported Covid-19 cases at present are caused by the Omicron variant, Dr. Herath on an earlier occasion warned of a challenging situation in the coming days if the number of Covid-19 infections continues to increase in this way.

Meanwhile, Homagama Base Hospital Director Dr. Janitha Hettiarachchi on 25 January stated that the two wards reserved for Covid-19 patients at the hospital were full of patients. He said that the number of Covid-19 patients admitted to the hospital had increased rapidly as compared to last week. The hospital has 75 beds reserved for Covid-19 patients, but about 81 patients are currently receiving treatment, he said.

It was also reported that the number of Covid-19-infected patients being admitted to the National Hospital in Colombo, including those reliant on supplemental oxygen, had risen significantly these days, and that therefore, priority for routine surgeries would have to be reduced in the coming days.