Delta variant detected in Colombo

Sri Lankan authorities have announced that the highly transmissible B.1.617.2 or Delta variant has been detected for the first time from the community in capital Colombo.

Director of the Department of Immunology and Molecular Medicine of Sri Jayewardenepura University, Chandima Jeewandara said on Thursday that this variant was detected in five samples obtained from the Dematagoda area in Colombo, reports Xinhua news agency.

He said the variant was earlier detected on two occasions in Sri Lanka but from quarantine centre and not within the community.

According to scientists, the Delta variant was spreading more quickly than the Alpha strain.

Sri Lanka is under a strict nationwide travel restriction which will be lifted on June 21 at 4 a.m.

Within the past two months, over 100,000 new infections have been reported as Sri Lanka has detected the new Delta and Alpha variants from quarantine centres and several areas, health officials said.

In an aim to bring down the infection rate, the government said it is planning to vaccinate at least 70 per cent of its population by August or September this year.