Sri Lanka’s total coronavirus deaths exceeded 8,000 on Thursday and its 412,370 infections make it one of Asia’s worst hit countries.
Doctors say the real toll is at least twice as high and authorities have resorted to mass cremations to clear bodies piling up at hospitals and morgues.
The health experts said in a report, seen by AFP, that extending the lockdown until Oct 2 could save up to 10,000 lives.
The government has relied on a vaccination drive to counter the spread of the virus. More than 6.4 million of the 21 million population have received two vaccine doses but the caseload has still overwhelmed hospitals.
The country’s main National Hospital in Colombo is reported to be at breaking point with hundreds of staff testing positive and no more intensive care beds available.