Amid an unabated increase of new Covid-19 cases and deaths, Sri Lanka has decided to extend the lockdown for another week till September 6.
The Covid-19 Task Force met with President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on Friday after which it was decided to extend the quarantine lockdown that was to end on August 30.
Sri Lanka is currently experiencing a Covid-19 surge due to the Delta variant. As per the latest records, the country registered 209 new deaths, the highest in a day so far, with 4,597 fresh cases.
The island nation's overall Covid caseload and death toll currently stood at 412,370 and 8,157. Despite the government's desperate move to open the country mainly due to economic losses, medical experts, activists, and opposition political parties have been demanding to continue the lockdown as the Covid spread had reached a dangerous level.
A study backed by the World Health Organization (WHO) projected that Sri Lanka lifting island-wide lockdown could lead to a total of 16,700 deaths.
However, the estimated economic loss due to the lockdown is thought to be around $1 billion.
The WHO expert group's study also has projected that an extension of the lockdown to September 18 could reduce the death toll to 13,712 and an extension of the lockdown to October 2 could limit the deaths to 10,400.
The WHO Expert group has stated that the Delta variant, which is highly transmissible with a shorter incubation period, has now been spread to other provinces from the Western province.
"Hospitals are at full capacity with an increasing number of health workers getting infected, while critical supplies are low in stock, including oxygen," the group revealed, adding that the virus has now started spreading within homes.