Sri Lanka is grappling with a sudden surge in COVID-19 cases, with the delta variant causing increased infections. As of August 27, per the Epidemiology Unit of Health Ministry of Sri Lanka, there were 416,961 confirmed cases, total recovered at 353,191, and total deaths at 8,371, according to the health ministry. Total vaccinated in the country with the first dose is at 12.2 million; and second dose at 6.8 million. Schools remain closed and have adopted online education to teach students.
The Sri Lankan government imposed an island-wide quarantine curfew that began on August 20 and the government has extended this curfew up until the 6 September. However, essential services are allowed to remain in operation during this period. Despite all control measures taken, cases continue to rise. This is the highest number of deaths reported within a day since the beginning of the pandemic.
Statement from Mr. Divakar Ratnadurai, National Director of SOS Children’s Villages in Sri Lanka
“We are deeply concerned about the current COVID-19 situation in Sri Lanka. As an organization, we have made it a priority to do everything we can to safeguard all of our children, youth, mothers, and staff. Despite all these safety and precautionary measures in place at all our villages across the country, a number of children, youth and staff members (residential and non-residential) have been confirmed as positive for COVID-19.
“At our SOS Children’s Village in Piliyandala, a total of 48 residents have been affected, including 40 children and youth, and eight residential staff including mothers. A further 42 non-residential youth and staff attached to the Children’s Village in Piliyandala have also been confirmed to be COVID-19 positive. Moreover, 10 youth and staff from the Children’s Village in Anuradhapura, four youth and staff from the Children’s Village in Jaffna, two youth from the Children’s Village in Galle, and two youth from the Children’s Village in Monaragala have also tested positive for COVID-19.
“We immediately took the necessary steps to quarantine all affected individuals as per the guidelines given by relevant health authorities. We further reassure that they are safe and receiving all necessary medical treatment, and we look forward to their speedy recovery.
“We have taken steps to temporarily put on hold all our ongoing projects in the country and have completely closed all six of our Children’s Villages to any outside visitors. Essential items are sent to these Villages through contactless delivery mechanisms to ensure all their requirements continue to be met. Attempts we have taken to separate the affected children, mothers, youth and staff are working. After a seven day period, we carried out antigen tests on all retired mothers in the Piliyadala Village on the 18th of this month, and all of them tested negative.
“The inevitable truth is that we are dealing with a contagious and evolving virus, in the face of which our utmost priority remains the health and well-being of our children and youth, and the mothers and staff who are responsible for their care. Hence, we will continue to closely monitor any developments, while ensuring the maximum safety and precautionary measures are adhered to.”