Sri Lankan authorities said on Thursday that the highly transmissible variant B.1.617.2 of the coronavirus (COVID-19) found in India had been detected in the capital Colombo.
Dr Chandima Jeewandara, director of the Department of Immunology and Molecular Medicine at Sri Jayewardenepura University, said the variant was detected in five samples taken from the Dematagoda area in Colombo.
He said the variant had already been detected twice in Sri Lanka, but in quarantine centers and not in the community.
Scientists say this Delta variant spread faster than the Alpha variant.
Sri Lanka is under a strict nationwide travel restriction that would be lifted on June 21 at 4 a.m. local time.
Health officials said that in the past two months more than 100,000 new infections have been reported as Sri Lanka has detected the new Delta and Alpha variants of COVID-19 in quarantine centers and several areas.
In an attempt to reduce the infection rate, the government has said it plans to vaccinate at least 70% of its population by August or September 2021. (Xinhua / NAN)