Sri Lanka has an accurate understanding regarding the spread of the new Omicron variant, and the health officials point out that laboratory facilities are available to identify the virus through genetic analysis if it enters the country.
These views were expressed at a media briefing organized by the Presidential Media Center, today (December 2) under the theme “The country is ready to eliminate Omicron variant “.
The press conference was attended by Professor Neelika Malavige , the Head of the Department of Immunology and Molecular Medicine, University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Secretary to the Ministry of Health Dr. H.S. Munasinghe, Dr. Chandima Jeewandara, Director Allergy Immunology and Cell Biology Unit, Faculty of Medical Sciences, University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Deputy Director General of Health Services, Dr. Hemantha Herath and the moderator of the press conference was President’s Spokesman Kingsley Rathnayaka.
‘Omicron may spread faster than the other four coronavirus strains that have existed so far, and it can be infected to a person even after recovering from COVID-19’, said Professor Neelika Malavige. She pointed out that within the next two to three weeks it will be possible to get a clear idea of the behaviour of the Omicron variant, adding that if immunity is high, there is no need to fear mutant variants. The Omicron variant has been found in 24 countries around the world and the global health sectors are paying special attention to it.
The Secretary to the Ministry of Health, Dr. H.S.Munasinghe said due to the immense commitment and intervention of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the country has improved its position in the world in terms of controlling the COVID-19 pandemic and added that the support of the people is essential to control the new Covid variant and it is the responsibility of all to follow proper health recommendations and support these measures.
Dr. Chandima Jeewandara stressed the need for those who have not yet been vaccinated to be vaccinated immediately, saying that there is no need to panic over the Omicron variant as the booster dose increases immunity. Dr. Jeewandara also stressed the importance of adherence to public health regulations.
He also pointed out the importance of maintaining immunity by following health recommendations rather than fearing the virus.
The Deputy Director of Health Services, Dr. Hemantha Herath said that the government’s on-going crackdown on Covid-19 has been successful and that the people should restrict movements during the festive season.