Minimizing human to human contact has been universally accepted as the key to prevent the spread of Covid-19. We fully appreciate all the measures taken by his Excellency and the government including accelerated vaccination drive and travel restrictions of various levels to curtail the spread of Covid-19 in our country.
However, it is quite disheartening to observe that the current “lockdown” during the worst part of the pandemic has not reached the expected level as observed by us and many other parties, partly due to poor understanding and commitment of the general public. An ineffective lockdown will invariably fail to achieve the expected outcome of reduction of death rates and dangerous overcrowding of hospitals in spite of the associated economic losses.
Therefore, we strongly believe that, far stricter properly effected preventive measures of human to human contacts with full participation and commitment of the general public will be required, if our nation is to gain the maximum benefit till the country achieves the optimal vaccination status.
Unfortunately, our number of daily cases and deaths fall in to the highest bracket in the world. Our health care delivery system is on the verge of collapse due to rising inflow of very sick (oxygen dependant) patients and ever-increasing number of health care workers falling prey to Covid-19.
We are in full agreement with the situation report dated 26th August 2021 compiled by the expert group convened by the WHO who are actively analyzing and comparing our situation with the rest of the world whilst keeping in mind the unique Sri Lankan situation. These experts are of the opinion that the temporary setback of the economy will bounce back soon when the country returns to near normal and it is worthwhile taking all the possible measures in preserving the precious human lives.
On this background, we urge the government to plan the next level of action to achieve the following.
1. Minimise the inflow of patients to ease the burden on our health care system.
2. To plan for achieving long term sustainable benefits to overcome the current economic crisis overlooking short term gains and losses.
3. To pave way to open the country to obtain proper international clearance and acknowledgement from the global community.
Therefore, we urge your Excellency and the government to extend the lockdown in a more effective and stricter manner till the nation achieves the optimal vaccination status in order to –
1. Prevent a significant number of deaths with a comparatively low cost to the economy which will invariably bounce back once the desired control is achieved.
2. To avert a catastrophic health crisis on both Covid and non Covid patients
3. To achieve “Green status” from the global community by the end of the year which will invariably have an overall positive impact on our economy.
Further, we strongly feel that it is very important for HE the president and the government to keep communication channels open with WHO and other relevant experts to obtain required opinion during this difficult period.
We, the Association of Medical Specialists feel that the government should take a serious note of the gravity of the situation to extend and enforce the lockdown in a stricter manner for at least for another three weeks and review the situation thereafter for safe opening.
Dr LakKumar Fernando Dr R Gnanasekeram
President-AMS General Secretary-AMS