Prof Neelika provides update on new variant found in Sri Lanka

 Health officials have warned that a new strain of the coronavirus has been found in Sri Lanka following the Sinhala and Tamil New Year.

Head of the Department of Immunology and Molecular Sciences, of the Sri Jayawardenepura university Prof. Neelika Malavige said the virus has been found to be even more highly transmissible than the variants found in the country thus far.

She explained that the new strain of the virus is airborne and the droplets have the capacity of remaining airborne for nearly an hour, resulting in infecting more people.

Research has found that the new strain can easily infect 5-6 people, compared to the earlier strain where only 1 or 2 persons were infected.

A slight difference has also been noted in the symptoms of the virus, while a majority of the infected have been identified as youths, Prof. Neelika Malavige said.

She advised that the only way to contain the virus is to wear face masks at all times, to wear it in a proper manner, and to continue wearing it even inside closed spaces.

Prof. Neelika Malavige said this would prevent people being infected with the new variant, which she reiterated was highly transmissible and urged the public to be vigilant. 

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