The Sri Lanka Medical Association (SLMA), Association of Medical Specialists (AMS) along with the Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) and the Sri Lanka Medical Intercollegiate Committee (SMIC) urged the government to impose a 2 week lockdown, following the spike in Covid-19 cases in Sri Lanka.
They stated that the current travel restrictions are inadequate to deal with the health crisis, and measures should be taken before the situation escalates. Citing reasons for a 2 week lockdown, the SLMA said that the 14 day period would cover two cycles of incubation periods of the infection and thereby break the chain of the uncontrolled spread.
The SLMA advised that restricting movements periodically, for example allowing people to leave their homes based on the digits on their NIC, have no significant effect with regards to curtailing the virus at this stage. Current restrictions can be implemented in future, after the 14-day period.
The SLMA is of the view that a 2 week lockdown is more likely to positively impact both the economy and health sector in the long-run. It will particularly benefit the health sector which is struggling to meet the demands of the populace, and this period will function as a reprieve. Hospitals could use this time in order to upgrade services and expand facilities.
The GMOA raised concerns with regards to certain groups of the population being neglected during the vaccine drive.They were of the view that essential groups had been left out and future programs should be carried out based on a priority list.
The Vice President of the GMOA also proposed that individuals of scientific knowledge be consulted, when decisions are being implemented as this would make a significant contribution, with regards to the management of the health crisis in future. He also went on to acknowledge the government’s efforts to abide by the advice given by health authorities in the country.
Furthermore, as the community lacks awareness on how to deal with asymptomatic cases, a pilot project has been launched in the Kalutara District in this regard, involving the participation of 40 doctors and several consultant community physicians. A call center has been set up for the general public to inquire necessary Covid-19 related health information. If this pilot project is a success, steps will be taken to implement it in other districts around Sri Lanka.