1. A year after Covid-19 emerged, the Sri Lanka country statistics and data for year 2020 indicate that Covid-19 is milder than seasonal influenza, as is the case in other tropical countries like Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Bangladesh or Tanzania. The number of deaths due to Covid-19 and related co-morbidities in 2020 in Sri Lanka was 204, although in a normal year between 4,000 and 6000 people die of influenza co-morbidities annually in Sri Lanka.
2. Yet, economically, socially and politically devastating Curfews and isolation policies have been introduced, resulting in fear, isolation, increasing poverty, inequality and pushing the island into a bigger debt trap and forcing the Government to sell off strategic assets and seemingly give tax relief to various international companies, investors and airlines
3. We draw your attention to the empirical and qualitative data and facts on the ground at this time: No workers in the mercantile and industrial sectors in Sri Lanka have died of Covid-19 throughout the year 2020. Likewise, although the Corona virus has spread throughout the country no nurses, doctors, Public Health Inspectors (PHIs) or other “frontline health workers” in quarantine centers have died of Covid 19, indicating that the severity of the disease is limited in Sri Lanka. More health sector workers die of dengue, heart attacks, cancer, diabetes, road accidents, even elephant attacks etc. There were fewer patients in hospitals than in previous years.
4. The relatively low incidence of Covid-19 in Sri Lanka is due to several interrelated, and country-specific, CONTEXTUAL factors such as, a) year round hot and humid tropical weather (above 20 degrees Celsius), that degrades the Covid-19 virus and transmission, 2) universal Bacillus Calmette–Guerin (BCG), vaccination that confers innate and trained immunity against respiratory illnesses, since 1949, 3) good national health infrastructure including BCG monitoring;, 4) and local diet and food habits etc. and NOT as some misled and ill-informed doctors (who promote the strange “hammer and dance” theory to control the virus), claim, due to the economically destructive militarized lockdowns, isolation, and fear psychosis policies that they promote;
5. Moreover, many international scientists have exposed the fact that high numbers of false positive PRC and RT-PCT tests account for high rates of supposedly asymptomatic cases, and question the Covid-19 data presented by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Johns Hopkins University (JHU) Data Base. In India highly flawed PCR tests gave up to 80 percent false positives and a community survey was abandoned. The flawed tests account for very high numbers of apparently “asymptomatic” cases when in fact these cases either have Covid-anti-bodies from last year’s flu or the tests were simply wrong. Clearly, Sri Lanka and many other impoverished countries in the GLOBAL SOUTH has been locked down and economically devastated based on flawed tests and a global media narrative that exaggerated the number of Covid-19 cases by giving false positives that lead to misleading data and policy.
6. It is now clear that the virus has spread to all parts of the country with 35,300 people infected, but the disease has little traction in Sri Lanka. As leading experts have noted the metric that matters to determine the severity of a disease is NOT the number of infections but rather the number of death relative to infections, extrapolated to the whole population. The MOH and GMOA guided by the World Health Organisation (WHO) has used questionable epidemiology models, metrics and flawed PCT tests to whip up a fear psychosis and lock down the country by using the case fertility rate (CFR) rather than use the tried and tested “infection fatality rate” (IFR).
7. At this time we applaud President Gotabaya Rajapaksa for refusing to lock down the country when the WHO, some officials at the Ministry of Health MOH and medical and doctor’s organizations like the GMOA are spreading fear about a “second wave’ of Coronavirus and the new strand emerging in Britain. However, we note with concern, that a foreign citizen heads the Covid-19 Task Force and seems to be making Covid-19 policy in Sri Lanka based on US and UK stories, data and statistics!
8. We also note with concern that the MOH and GMOA and Covid-19 Task Force policy of lockdowns and isolation based on random PCR and antigen tests, that deliver high levels of false positives while targeting poor communities and neighbourhoods with ethnic minorities, and using the military has spread a fear psychosis, stigmatizing patients, particularly women and garment factory workers, and resulted in closure of factories, destruction of livelihood and thousands of job losses, leading to rising poverty and inequality. Often this racial and religious profiling and scapegoating is based on false positive PCR tests, and meant to promote division, distrust and de-stabilize society and government.
9. It is not Covid-19 but the policy response that has triggered a national emergency: The GMOA promoted canard that dead bodies carry and spread the infection has whipped up a media frenzy, and targets Muslim and Christian religious minorities which tend to bury their dead. There appears to be a deliberate attempt to DIVIDE and DISTRACT from a science and evidence based national Covid-19 policy discussion of the real data, empirical facts and qualitative, social science date on the ground. One year after the Covid the QUALITATIVE DATA makes this very clear.
10. “Test, test and trace”, often with flawed tests has been the mantra on which the WHO, Ministry of Health (MOH), the Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) policy of economically, socially and politically, devastating lockdowns and isolation has been implemented by the GoSL and military. These policies are clearly NOT based on Sri Lanka’s country specific, quantitative and qualitative Covid-19 data, and are counter-productive to the mental and physical health and well-being of the population. In fact, these policies have turned science and common sense on their heads and caused great damage to society, economy and democratic governance as the OXFAM Report “Hunger Virus” affirms.
11. We note that the WHO, MOH and GMOA and medical organizations and their events are heavily funded by big pharmaceutical, bio-tech and related multi-national companies, some that are also making vaccines and huge profits out of the so-called global Covid-19 pandemic. There is a long history of big Pharma. Companies colluding with local networks and blocking the passage of the Seneka Bibile National Drugs Policy Bill to provide cheap and affordable generic drugs to patients in Sri Lanka.
12. VACCINES: We are increasingly skeptical of statements and advice from the World Health Organization (WHO), which has manipulated the data and statistics, and suppressed the country-specific experiences and voices from the GLOBAL SOUTH, particularly tropical countries: Although there was NO Covid-19 HEALTH EMERGENCY in Sri Lanka at any time in the year 2020 as the qualitative and quantitative data indicates, policies, media messaging and propaganda that spread doubt and fear psychosis are now increasingly used to advertise Covid-19 vaccines. These policies were counter to the real data and facts on the ground (low number of workers, health workers and medics who have caught or died of the disease and low hospital occupancy), that is now available for the year 2020 in Sri Lanka.
13. Although the 2020 country-specific quantitative and qualitative data and evidence suggests that there is NO Covid-19 Health Emergency in Sri Lanka, the highly-indebted GoSL is being urged by the WHO and UNICEF to buy vaccines. The GoSL has negotiated loans from the World Bank and Asian Development Bank according to headlines in the Sunday Times of December 20, 2020.
14. There is intense competition among big Pharmaceutical Corporations and vaccine manufacturing countries at this time to sell their products also given significant concerns about vaccines efficacy Moreover, the currently available Covid-19 vaccines have been only authorized only for EMERGENCY USE in the northern hemisphere due to a spike in Covid-19 cases this winter. These vaccines have not gone through a full trials process which on average takes over 5 years, nor have they been systematically trialed among South Asian populations. The Pfizer and Biontech and Moderna mRNA vaccines that were the first to be authorized in the UK US and WHO use brand new, never previously tested technology while the cost-effective, tried and tested Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG ), vaccine that protects against a broad range of respiratory tract illness, and trials for Covid-19 adaptation seem to have disappeared from our radar screens. However there are questions about the current Covid-19 vaccines and suggestions that the anti-bodies they trigger may last less than 10 months.
15. Would it not be wise and prudent for GoSL to wait until proper trials are conducted and these vaccines are authorized for use in non-emergency contexts? This would also ensure adequate stock of vaccines for countries in the global North where there appears to be a Covid-19 crisis. It is increasingly clear that the WHO, funded by big pharmaceutical companies, whose head is embroiled in various corruption allegations seems to be promoting what Canadian author, Naomi Klein termed DISASTER CAPITALISM. At this time questions arise about the performance and integrity of the WHO-Sri Lanka country Director and office given a lack of evidence-based policy advice.
16. The lack of an evidence-based policy response by the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) appropriate to the Sri Lanka country context is related to the lack of a qualified, educated and competent Minister and team in the Ministry of Health (MOH) who is able to analyze country data and make evidence-based health and national policy. Since virus bio-terrorism from genetically modified gain of function research attacks (also on crops, like the Fall Army Worm) , are set to continue the government must urgently appoint a qualified and competent Minister and task force head.
17. The Covid-19 fear psychosis appears to have an element of a planned and systematic attack on economy, society and laboring people which needs to be urgently addressed by the GoSL through formulation of evidence-based policies, based on analysis of Sri Lanka country statistics and data. Rather than promoting the Covid-19 fear psychosis by using military to lock down and isolate communities while stigmatizing people, policies that have paralyzed the economy and society forcing Sri Lanka into a bigger debt trap, while US backed hedge funds are asset stripping the country and carrying out the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) project – by the back door – the Govt. must assure the people that Covid-19 in Sri Lanka is milder than flu except for elderly people and those with underlying health conditions who should take precautions.
18. We are increasingly skeptical of statements made by the World Health Organization (WHO), which has manipulated the data and statistics, and suppressed the country-specific experiences and voices from the GLOBAL SOUTH, particularly tropical countries. Many scholars, academics and intellectuals have pointed out that this epidemic is being propagated and orchestrated by imperialist and colonialist world powers and their global media to print trillions of dollars and bail out their economies and boost Big Pharmaceutical and Tech companies, and promote global surveillance systems, and stop migration from the Global South also through a vaccination passport program. The WHO is funded by many big pharmaceutical and bio-tech companies that are profiting from the so-called global pandemic.
19. Economists and social scientists who have analyzed the contradictory news published by the global electronic and print media point out that the Covid-10 hoax has increased economic inequality, enriched a few, while emerging economies like Sri Lanka have borne the brunt of this epidemic, due to ill-informed policy and media messaging. (OXFAM Hunger Virus Report).
20. To confuse people, distract from analysis of the data, it seems that some media houses and politicians have also had recourse to the occult, superstition and cultural myths and rituals to mislead the masses. We consider it a grave death trap to blindly follow the policies prescribed by various interested foreign parties that appear to have captured national institutions and policy-making processes, and seek to serve their own interests and profit from the misery of the working millions who have lost their livelihoods due to the global ‘panicdemic’.
21. The Covid-19 crisis has exposed the Sri Lankan economy’s over-reliance on international tourism. The policy of welcoming tourists, but limiting travel of Sri Lanka citizens and isolating the Western Province which is the economic growth hub of Sri Lanka, and preventing travel and internal tourism may be increasing regional poverty and inequality in Sri Lanka. Countries like Japan with higher Covid-19 numbers are encouraging internal travel and tourism to assist economic recovery at this time. Arresting people for not wearing masks, and RT-PCR and Antigen testing at exits points of the Western Province should be discontinued immediately.
22. Finally, it is highly likely that Sri Lanka has achieve “herd immunity” as the flu season at the end of 2019 had all the signs of Covid also given high levels of travel and tourism to and from China, but since there is no systematic anti-body testing we do not know if this is the case. Rather than buying vaccines it would be appropriate for the MOH to conduct anti-body tests with accurate test kits to assess how many in the population have immunities and if herd immunity has been achieved as the country-level data and statistics seem to indicate. Those who would like a vaccine may consider a BCG vaccine booster.
*This statement was drafted by Dr. Darini Rajasingham-Senanayake, a Social and Medical Anthropologist for the Ceylon Mercantile and General Workers Union (CMU), and signed onto by the Federation of Media Employees’ Trade Unions, as the Covid-19 policy continues to impact workers’ livelihoods and deepen the social, political and economic crisis in Sri Lanka.
 CRVS country reports Summary: Improving the quality of mortality statistics in Sri Lanka, note that” Approximately 130,000 deaths are reported annually in Sri Lanka, and Chronic respiratory illness is the third largest cause of death” .Available at: https://crvsgateway.info/file/16993/155; According to the WHO data published in 2018 Influenza and Pneumonia Deaths in Sri Lanka reached 4,864 or 3.83% of total deaths. WorldHealthRankings country data website available at: https://www.worldlifeexpectancy.com/sri-lanka-influenza-pneumonia.
 Hot and Humid weather can slow Covid 19 transmission a new study finds, available at : http://www.pharmafile.com/news/549752/hot-and-humid-weather-can-slow-covid-19-transmission-new-study-finds
Regarding BCG as a flack jacked against Covid-19 see Darini Rajasingham-Senanayake: “BCG Vaccine Fighting Coronavirus in South Asia” provides extensive analysis of the vaccine, available at: http://www.ipsnews.net/2020/04/bcg-vaccine-fighting-coronavirus-south-asia/
See also: “One of the oldest vaccines could help combat COVID-19” available at: https://www.europeanpharmaceuticalreview.com/news/134481/one-of-the-oldest-vaccines-could-help-combat-covid-19/
 The COVID-19 RT-PCR Test: How to Mislead All Humanity. Using a “Test” To Lock Down Society by Dr. Pascal Sacre. Available at: https://www.globalresearch.ca/covid-19-rt-pcr-how-to-mislead-all-humanity-using-a-test-to-lock-down-society/5728483; see also “CDC Report: Official knew that Corona virus test was flawed but released it anyway” available at https://www.npr.org/2020/11/06/929078678/cdc-report-officials-knew-coronavirus-test-was-flawed-but-released-it-anyway; see also: https://fullfact.org/online/cambridge-pcr-false-positive/ and also: https://www.bmj.com/company/newsroom/accuracy-of-rapid-covid-test-may-be-lower-than-previously-suggested/
 Eran Bendavid and Jay Battacharya ‘Is the Coronavirus as Deadly as They Say?’ available at: https://fsi.stanford.edu/news/coronavirus-deadly-they-say; see also https://www.econtalk.org/jay-bhattacharya-on-the-pandemic/ Another study by Ioannidis notes “The inferred infection fatality rates tended to be much lower than estimates made earlier in the pandemic” and infers a much higher rate of Covid-19 infection in populations in a study on “Infection fatality rate of COVID-19 from seroprevalence data”. John P A Ioannidis, concluded that “The infection fatality rate of COVID-19 can vary substantially across different locations and this may reflect differences in population age structure and case-mix of infected and deceased patients and other factors.” Available at https://www.who.int/bulletin/online_first/BLT.20.265892.pdf
 One of the oldest vaccines could help combat COVID-19, available at: https://www.europeanpharmaceuticalreview.com/news/134481/one-of-the-oldest-vaccines-could-help-combat-covid-19/ see also: TB vaccine linked to lower risk for Covid-19, available at : https://www.cedars-sinai.org/newsroom/study-tb-vaccine-linked-to-lower-risk-of-contracting-covid-19/ see also: Darini Rajasingham-Senanayake “BCG Vaccine Fighting Coronavirus in South Asia” that provides an analysis of the vaccine and Covid-19 data in South Asia: available at: http://www.ipsnews.net/2020/04/bcg-vaccine-fighting-coronavirus-south-asia/