The Sri Lanka Medical Association (SLMA) has renewed its appeal to the Government for continued vigilance over the control measures taken against the COVID-19 virus, given recent local and global developments of the pandemic.
In a statement, SLMA appealed to the Government, to enhance the campaign to strengthen the behaviour towards the new normal, through continuation of strict application of control measures and making it a mandatory requirement on the part of the general public, to conform to the advice provided by the health professionals who are conversant on the subject.
Following is the full text of the statement signed by SLMA President Prof. Indika Karunathilake, Vice President Prof. M.C. Weerasinghe, and SMIC Convenor Dr. Ananda Wijewickrama. Sri Lanka as a country has managed to successfully control the spread of COVID-19 with a technically correct approach and prompt measures in the initial stage.
This is something that we can be proud of, and the country and the population should be grateful to the Government for the excellent handling of the situation up to the present time. In fact, Sri Lanka’s approach of ‘Trace, Test, and Treat’ has been the envy of the world in that respect.
However, the Sri Lanka Medical Association (SLMA) is now gravely concerned by the current situation where there is a blatant lack of application of the measures required to control the spread of the disease.
We are of the view that key measures are not adequately applied and monitored at present, thereby increasing the vulnerability of the country to a resurgence of COVID-19. It is now clearly observed that the country is shifting back to the behaviour of the pre-COVID-19 era. It is tremendously disheartening to see what was achieved by a massive campaign to take the country to a new normal situation being reversed.
Most unfortunately, it seems to be complicated by some regressive set of steps that have been taken, which could contribute towards dragging the entire country towards the catastrophic status that is akin to that faced by many other nations the world over.
Over relaxing of restriction for public gatherings, operation of uncontrolled public transport, widespread opening of recreational activities, and many other questionable manoeuvres have probably paved the way to change the mindset of the people to abandon the very necessary control measures. Keeping the much-needed physical distancing, frequent hand washing, etc., are largely disappearing, thereby increasing the risk of viral spread in the community.
Even proper wearing of masks in public places is not strictly adhered to. Disappearance of those healthy behaviours seems to be largely due to fast relaxation of control measures indicating that the risk of COVID-19 is no more. This false notion is extremely harmful, and it will be hard to revert back to healthy behaviours in the case of a resurgence of cases.
We need to be alerted by the increasing caseload of neighbouring countries and unprecedented resurgence of cases in countries which earlier claimed to have controlled the pandemic. We need to learn a very important lessons from what has happened in the very recent past.
Therefore, the SLMA is appealing to the Government to enhance the campaign to strengthen the behaviour towards the new normal, through continuation of strict application of control measures and making it a mandatory requirement on the part of the general public to conform to the advice provided by the health professionals, who are conversant on the subject.