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Based on the projections made by the University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), Sri Lanka is likely to record more than 20,000 deaths by September due to Covid-19 if the spread of the virus continues at this pace, former Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera warned.

IHME has projected that around 11,700 Sri Lankans will succumb to the Coronavirus by June 01 and the number is projected to surpass 20,000 by September 01.

According to IHME, the number of daily deaths due to Covid-19 is expected to rise sharply with around 205 deaths projected by June 01.

Speaking to reporters yesterday (09), Samaraweera called on the Sri Lankan authorities to immediately address this issue, warning that the country would face a deadly situation if a clear solution is not found to control the surging pandemic.

“The government and the authorities should immediately pay attention to the issues mentioned in the report regarding Sri Lanka. The report points out that if the spread of the virus in Sri Lanka continues like this, more than 20,000 Covid deaths could be expected by September,” he added.

He said that Sri Lanka is not prepared to face such a situation right now and is confident that the government will not delay in stopping such a deadly situation. “The United States and Great Britain, which have had the highest mortality and morbidity rates in the world in recent years, can be cited as examples. The formalisation and acceleration of the COVID-19 vaccine have already shown a rapid decline in deaths and morbidity in those countries,” he noted.

He also noted that if the government can somehow get the vaccines approved by the World Health Organization (WHO) in consultation with the international community and initiates a formal inoculation drive across the country, the authorities would be able to control  the virus in a couple of months.

"I believe that the private sector should also be included in the inoculation drive. If they provide an opportunity for the public to purchase a vaccine of their choice, it will be easier to reach the target of vaccinating 70% of the population," he added.