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Sri Lanka records first death due to coronavirus

The man, who was being treated for the deadly viral infection at Colombo's Infectious Diseases Hospital (IDH), died on Saturday, said Anil Jasinghe, Director General of the Health Services.

March 29, 2020 / 04:34 PM IST

Sri Lanka has recorded its first death due to coronavirus, a 65-year-old diabetic man.

The man, who was being treated for the deadly viral infection at Colombo's Infectious Diseases Hospital (IDH), died on Saturday, said Anil Jasinghe, Director General of the Health Services.

The patient had a history of high blood pressure and blood sugar, he said.

According to Health Ministry officials, the man had contracted the virus from Lanka's second coronavirus patient who was in contact with a group of Italian tourists.

As of Saturday, there were 115 confirmed COVID-19 cases and one death in the island nation. Nine persons have been cured of the disease, while 199 were under observation at designated hospitals across the country.


COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

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How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

How many types of vaccines are there?

There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

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Meanwhile, the country continues to remain under curfew and a restriction remained imposed on foreign arrivals.

Indefinite curfew will continue in Colombo, Gampaha, Kaluthra, Puttalam, Jaffna and Kandy, while for other regions, the ban will be lifted for eight hours -- from 6:00 AM to 2:00 PM -- on Monday.

The ban on foreign arrivals has been extended till April 7 to contain the spread of the virus.

The Commissioner General of Prisons said some 1,460 prisoners will be released in view of the coronavirus threat.

Those inmates will be released who are serving jail terms for failing to fulfil bail conditions, he said.

Last week there was a riot in the north central province jail, causing at least two deaths, as inmates feared that they may get infected by the virus.
first published: Mar 29, 2020 04:34 pm

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