Military and aviation officials entrusted with containing the spread of Covid-19 in Sri Lanka may soon decide to close the country’s borders once again, Colombo Telegraph learns.
While Aviation Minister Prasanna Ranatunga told reporters that no final decision has been reached yet on the topic, officials see no other way to prevent the entry of the deadly South African and Indian ‘double mutant’ variants into Sri Lanka. While the country’s hospitals are overflowing with thousands of new cases being detected per week and several fatalities being reported daily, these are the result of the UK variant, which is the 3rd most dangerous, ravaging Sri Lanka.
“We have successfully kept the two most deadly variants out of the country for now,” a senior public health official told Colombo Telegraph. “But unless airport officials and the navy are allowed by the government to do what has to be done, it is only a matter of time before the most deadly mutations, from South Africa and India, get to us. If that happens, when our hospitals are already overflowing, it would be a bloodbath.”
The official advises that tourists and Sri Lankans abroad refrain from travelling to the country until the South African and Indian variants are contained in other countries.
“Shutting down the airports and preventing boat traffic from India are the only options we have left,” the official said, warning that too many cases are being detected in quarantine centres and hotels to risk continuing these practices safely.
“Taking the risk of quarantine centres and bio bubbles was a luxury we had when there was hospital capacity to deal with an emergency. Now it would be like hosting a bonfire and barbeque outside a burning building without calling the fire department.” (By Sumith Alwis)