Colombo: Sri Lankan authorities have said that the highly transmissible Delta variant of COVID-19 has been detected for the first time in the community.
Chandima Jeewandara of the University of Sri Jayawardenapura here said the strain was detected in samples collected from an area in the Colombo central suburb of Dematagoda.
ÂFrom the 8 samples we collected at Dematagoda, we found five of them positive for the Delta variant,Â Jeewandara, who is the Director of the Allergy Immunology and Cell Biology Unit of the Department of Immunology and Molecular Medicine at the varsity, said.
ÂWe keep constantly monitoring for variants through the use of variant PCR test kits," Jeewandara said on Thursday.
It is the first community detection of the Delta variant in the country. Previously, two people were found to be infected with the Delta variant in a quarantine facility.
The university in a previous report had held that the Delta variant is 50 per cent more transmissible than the current dominant alpha variant prevalent in the island.
The Delta strain - first identified in India - is more severe and capable of Âevading one dose vaccineÂ.
Sri Lanka has seen a sharp increase of positive cases and deaths since April due to the celebrations and shopping by the people during the traditional new year festival.
Sri Lanka has so far reported 230,692 COVID-19 cases with 2,374 deaths.
Sri Lanka's COVID-19 vaccination began in late January with India's gift of 500,000 Covishield AstraZeneca vaccines.
After India's Serum Institute failed to provide the promised Covishield vaccines, the health authorities in Sri Lanka are in a dilemma to provide the second jab to those who had been given the first dose of Covishield.
Sri Lanka is currently receiving supplies of China's Sinopharm vaccine which is being administered throughout the island.