Former SL Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera dies of Covid

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Local media quoting medical officers said Samaraweera had developed complications and suffered a cardiac arrest….reports Asian Lite News

Sri Lanka’s former Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera passed away after being infected with the coronavirus, local media reported.

Samaraweera had been admitted to the Intensive Care Unit of a private hospital in capital Colombo last week after he contracted the virus, reports Xinhua news agency.

Local media quoting medical officers said Samaraweera had developed complications and suffered a cardiac arrest.

He succumbed to the virus on Tuesday.

Samaraweera, 65, had served as the Foreign Affairs Minister and Finance Minister in previous governments but stepped down from politics last year.

At the time, he was a member of the opposition Samagi Jana Balawegaya political party.

Indian FM expressed condolences

Indian Foreign Minister S Jaishankar on Tuesday expressed condolences on the death of former Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera.

“Samaraweera was a warm and generous personality and a true friend of India. May his soul rest in peace,” Jaishankar said in a tweet.

He has also served as a Minister of Mass Media, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of Finance in previous Sri Lankan governments.

Sri Lanka is in the midst of a rapid third wave of the pandemic which has infected 398,801 people to date and caused 7,750 deaths.

The medical experts earlier this week said the Delta variant of the Covid-19 which is spreading across the country has acquired four mutations due to the high transmission rate but did not have any effect on vaccine efficacy.

Head of the Department of Immunology and Molecular Sciences of the Sri Jayawardenapura University, Professor Neelika Malavige said while the four mutations were found following gene sequencing, there was no urge to panic until the implications of the mutations were established.

“One of the Delta mutations (A-222V) is seen in many countries, another (A-1078S) is found in Sri Lanka and Malaysia, while the other two (A-701S and R-24C) are only found in Sri Lanka. These are just mutations in the virus and that does not make these viruses new variants,” Malavige was quoted by a local newspaper as saying.

“We had identified many other mutations in the previous Alpha variant and in our variant of the Sri Lankan lineage (responsible for the second wave), which were of no significance. Therefore, although some of the Delta variant viruses seen in Sri Lanka might have certain unique mutations, there is no reason to be alarmed,” Malavige added.

Malavige said that these mutations were highly unlikely to have any effect on vaccine efficacy and requested people to get vaccinated against Covid-19.

Sri Lanka is presently facing a rising wave of Covid-19 infections, suspected to be caused by the Delta variant with authorities declaring a nationwide quarantine curfew since August 20 which will be lifted on August 30.

Hospitals are exhausted with rising admissions while oxygen dependency has also risen among the patients.

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