Meanwhile, the island’s new infections rose to an all time high for the third day running yesterday.
Sri Lanka on Thursday started administering Sputnik V vaccine after it received the first batch of 15,000 doses of the Russian jab, an health official said.
Dr Sudarshani Fernandopulle, minister for COVID-19 prevention, said a particularly vulnerable Colombo north suburb had been chosen to use the Sputnik vaccine.
Sri Lanka received a consignment of 15,000 Russian vaccines early this week out of an order for 13 million of Sputnik doses. Already 9,25,000 of the 21 million population had received the vaccine, Oxford AstraZeneca from India.
Due to the grave COVID situation in India, Sri Lanka’s next order is getting delayed posing problems for the second dose.
Also read | Sri Lanka bans travellers from India due to COVID-19 surge
Meanwhile, the island’s new infections rose to an all time high for the third day running yesterday with over 1,900 cases reported.
Fernandopulle said this was an alarming rise as people should be more vigilant to practice COVID-19 health guidelines.
"They must stay indoors as far as possible by stopping all unnecessary travel. If needed only one person can go out of a home”, she said.
The health authorities have dubbed this new wave the ‘New Year cluster’ which came to strike with the milling shoppers for the traditional Sinhala and Tamil New Year mid last month. The number of cases which stood below 200 per day average prior to the New Year celebrations in April had now reached nearly 2,000 per day, authorities said.
Also read | Sri Lanka issues new tough guidelines amid spike in COVID-19 cases
It has been identified as the fast spreading UK SARS-Cov-2 strain. The public health inspectors have said that hospitals are overwhelmed.
The health minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi said action had been taken to add 10,000 beds to the system while minister Fernandopulle stressed on the need to convert COVID quarantine centers to become treatment centers in view of the rising number of cases.
According to Johns Hopkins University, the total number of coronavirus cases in Sri Lanka are 117,529 and 734 people have died from the illness.
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