Colombo (Sri Lanka) | Jagran News Desk: In the backdrop of the massive resurgence of COVID-19 in several parts of the world, a new more infectious and potent strain of SARS-CoV-2 has been discovered in Sri Lanka.

Experts at Sri Jayawardenapura University have said that the new strain of COVID-19 is airborne and its droplets can remain in the air for nearly an hour.

"This variant of coronavirus is more highly transmissible than all found so far in the island. The new strain is airborne, the droplets can remain airborne for nearly an hour," said Neelika Malavige, the head of the Department of Immunology and Molecular Sciences of the Sri Jayawardenapura University.

Advising people to follow appropriate COVID behaviour, the experts have warned that the new strain could trigger the third wave of COVID-19 in Sri Lanka in the next two to three weeks.

Like India, Sri Lanka is witnessing a massive spike in daily cases. The island nation currently has nearly one lakh COVID-19 cases while more than 600 patients have succumbed to the infection.

However, the country's health department has urged its people not to panic but has advised them to strictly follow all necessary COVID-19 protocols like using face masks and practising social distancing.

"Previously the symptoms were not very apparent. Now they are much more visible and young people are more likely to develop them," said Director-General of Health Services Dr Asela Gunawardena, adding that those who have tested positive now develop more breathing difficulties.

Meanwhile, the country's health ministry has issued fresh guidelines to break the chain of COVID-19 in Sri Lanka. The guidelines will stay in force until May 31.

The guidelines dictate a 50 per cent capacity operation for most institutions with all forms of revelry being banned.

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma