Following World Health Organization's anticipation on resurgence of Covid cases and fatalities in the country by mid October, Sri Lanka has decided to import 100 metric tonnes of medical grade oxygen from India next week to meet the shortage of supply in hospitals, the Health Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi said on Saturday.
Accoeding to the Health Minister, the government will order 100 metric tonnes of medical grade oxygen from India to meet the current needs with the rapid increase of COVID-19 cases and more orders would be placed depending on the need.
A group of Sri Lankan health experts, who make the WHO independent expert group, has said that patients dependent on oxygen significantly increased from 528 last week to 646 by August 12.
“If this trend continues, there could be a serious shortage of oxygen supply and interruption of care," she said.
The health experts have warned that the number of COVID-19 cases would increase up to 6,000 per day up to mid September and deaths would peak to 220 per day by mid October.
According to the current figures of the Health Ministry, the average figures are half of the anticipated rise.
The panel of health experts called for a lockdown in the country for four weeks. “The country will have less number of cases of around 1,000 a day, deaths less than 25 a day and ICU care to less than 25 a day by October and avert 18,000 deaths by January 2022," according to their report.
They call for prioritising vaccination to those over 60, preferably with Pfizer, Moderna or AstraZeneca.
They opine that “for the vaccine that is used most widely, community vaccination will take 2-3 weeks after the second dose to provide adequate protection”.
Sri Lanka has procured over 14 million doses of China's Sinopharm vaccine so far and 10.6 million of them had been administered by August 7, making it the most widely used.
The panel says that as of August 9, less than 15 per cent of the 21 million had been vaccinated.
As immediate measures they want restrictions to be placed similar to that prevailed in May for 4 weeks.
Sri Lanka has recorded over 3.48 lakh coronavirus cases while the death toll has touched 5,776.
(With PTI Inputs)