Sri Lanka has extended the lockdown with health experts urging to keep the country closed amid the spread of Black fungus and Covid-associated invasive pulmonary Aspergillosis.

The current lockdown, which was to be lifted on September 21, has been extended till October 1, Health Minister Keheliya Rambukwella announced on Friday.

Sri Lanka, which is still on the ‘Red Zone’, has detected the spread of Black Fungus and Covid-associated invasive pulmonary Aspergillosis.

Primali Jayasekara, a consultant Mycologist, said on Friday that at least 12 Covid infected persons have been detected with Black Fungus.

“Not only Black Fungus, since April, we have come across over 700 patients with Covid-associated Aspergillosis fungus with pneumonia-like condition,” Jayasekara said.

The lockdown extension also comes amid demands by the medical expert groups, who had urged the government to extend the lockdown till October as a means to move from the current ‘Red Zone’ to the ‘Green Zone’.

On Thursday, the President of the Association of Medical Specialists (AMS), Lakkumar Fernando, had warned that if the restrictions are relaxed, with the Delta variant emerging as the dominant culprit at present, there is high possibility of a severe spread of Covid-19 increasing the death rate.

Last month, the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Independent Technical Expert Group had predicted that if lockdowns are extended till October 2, nearly 10,000 deaths could be averted.

In addition, the United Nations had also urged Sri Lanka to continue with the lockdown, stating that “it is important to count the human cost of the pandemic over short-term economic concerns”.

“The economy can recover but those we lose will never return. A short-term lockdown now will save lives, offer respite to our tireless health workers, and limit the long-term social and economic dislocation of a wider Covid-19 outbreak,” Hanaa Singer-Hamdy, Resident Coordinator, UN Sri Lanka, had said.

–IANS

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