Sri Lanka’s health experts on Thursday said an investigation had been launched to identify the implications of three new mutations of the Delta variant found mainly from capital Colombo to see if it is more contagious than the original Delta variant.

State Minister of Production, Supply and Regulation of Pharmaceuticals Channa Jayasumana said in the parliament earlier this week that three new mutations of the Delta variant had been identified in Sri Lanka, which might explain why the virus was spreading rapidly in the country.

FILE PHOTO: Medical workers administer doses of COVID-19 vaccine to school teachers at the Army Hospital in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Image: Xinhua

Head of the Department of Immunology and Molecular Sciences of the Sri Jayawardenapura University Professor Neelika Malavige said the three variants had been found from gene sequencing done by health experts around 10 days ago, and they were now probing to identify its implications.

The three new mutations had mainly been identified in Colombo which has been identified as the epicenter of the Delta variant.

Sri Lanka’s total COVID-19 patient count reached 372,079 after 2,720 patients tested positive for the virus earlier in the day, statistics showed.

The present active patient count in the country increased to 46,761. The death toll from the virus reached 6,604.

FILE PHOTO: A woman receives the COVID-19 vaccine at a “walk-in” community COVID-19 vaccination center in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Image: Xinhua

Sri Lanka presently has imposed a curfew from 10:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m. local time and public gatherings remain banned until further notice.

XINHUA | COLOMBO

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