Colombo: Sri Lankan health authorities announced on Friday that the two highly contagious Covid-19 variants -- B.1.1.7 and B.1.617.2 -- have been detected in the island nation.
Director of the Allergy, Immunity and Cell Biology Unit at the Sri Jayewardenepura University, Chandima Jeewandara said the B.1.1.7 variant, also known as Alpha, has been reported in capital Colombo and nine other areas in the country, reports Xinhua news agency.
Meanwhile, the B.1.617.2 or the Delta variant, has been detected in a quarantine facility in Waskaduwa in the outskirts of the capital, she added.
Sri Lanka is presently in the mid of a third wave of the pandemic since the first local patient with COVID infection was detected in March last year.
The island nation has registered a total of 216,134 Covid cases till date, while the death toll stood at 2,011.
Sri Lanka Aims To Vaccinate Entire Population By Early 2022
Meanwhile, Sri Lanka is working to vaccinate its entire population against Covid-19 by early 2022, informed Army Commander Gen. Shavendra Silva.
Addressing the virtual Sri Lanka Investment Forum (SLIF, Silva said a nationwide vaccination program was ongoing in the country and the island nation was in the process of getting adequate vaccines in the future, Xinhua news agency reported.
"It has to be understood that Covid-19 is not merely a health issue. Managing the pandemic is essentially managing the economy and livelihood as well. Also, the resilience in a pandemic is essentially the resilience in the economy too," Silva, who also heads the National Operations Centre for the Prevention of Covid-19, said.
"Therefore, the government has never underestimated the importance of local and international economic activities to run the country's economy."
Silva said that while a country like Sri Lanka could not have a lockdown for a longer period, the government had preserved a conducive environment for economic activities, from daily wage-earners to large-scale factories, especially the apparel sector that largely contributed to the country's economy.
"Our pandemic management strategy includes the uninterrupted running of industries, factories, export agencies, and international businesses, where the employees have been assured to work amid the pandemic with all necessary healthcare precautions and associated facilities," he said.
According to the Health Ministry, a total of 2,023,256 Sri Lankans have been vaccinated against Covid to date with Sinopharm, Sputnik V, and AstraZeneca jabs.