Dengue outbreak in Sri Lanka amid a surge in Covid-19 cases

Colombo: Sri Lanka health officials have warned the public about skyrocketing Covid-19 cases and a dangerous dengue outbreak on top of it.

The Health Ministry has urged the people to strictly follow Covid-19 health precautions including wearing masks in public spaces, washing hands, and maintaining social distance.

Health Secretary Janaka Chandraguptha said that due to the surge in Covid cases, the public has been requested to strictly follow the health guidelines.

Sri Lanka had imposed mandatory mask wearing in early 2020. However, following full vaccination of nearly 15 million people, which is over 66 per cent of the total population, the mask mandate was lifted on June 10.

With the sudden spike in cases, the Health Secretary has asked people to get the fourth jab as soon as possible and to get back to the habit of washing hands and sanitising regularly. Sri Lanka has offered three jabs to its population.

Moreover, amid rising Covid cases, the country is also experiencing rapid growth in a dengue epidemic, health experts warned.

“In addition to the Covid virus, there is also the dengue virus spreading. This is in addition to an ordinary virus with the symptoms of fever spreading in the country,” Dr. Hamdani Anver, Director of Tertiary Care Services, the Ministry of Health, said.

Dr. Sudatha Samraweera, Director of the National Dengue Control Unit, said that over 44,000 dengue cases have been reported since January, and 8,200 of these were reported in July alone.

“There is a dangerous increase in dengue cases and the country is in a severe epidemic situation,” he said.

Sri Lanka declared Monday as a national dengue prevention day and directed its citizens to dedicate one hour from work to clear the surroundings of their offices, schools, private and public spaces and religious places.

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