Professionals and academics urge unified and holistic action by Government to fight COVID-19

Thursday, 26 March 2020 00:58 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

A group of responsible citizens have come together and put forth some practical approaches and strategies to best combat the current COVID-19 crisis in Sri Lanka.

The effort, made a group consisting of academics, economists, sociologists, media, rights activists and legal professionals, has stressed the importance of a holistic national strategy to face this unprecedented calamity.

Written to the attention of the President and the Prime Minister, the letter makes pragmatic recommendations to the Government while commending the efforts being already made by the Government.

“However, we as responsible citizens are of the view that a sound, multi-sectoral technical response mechanism, would strengthen the current operations led by the government. We recognise the importance of a holistic national disaster response strategy to sustain and continue the functioning of the key sectors including health and food security, social security and wellbeing, transportation and defence through a multi-sectoral pandemic response strategy and implementation” the communique stated.

Following are the key recommendations set forth by the group:

Reconstitution of a multi-sectoral COVID-19 National Task Force headed by a civil representative/technical expertise with prior experience handling a national disaster situation with expertise in health, social sector, academics, disaster management specialists, and civil society representatives. 

  • Health and epidemiology experts to guide the technical and other policy decisions, amply supported by the political authority 

  • A sound social safety mechanism to take care of the most vulnerable populations engaging all relevant Government institutions and credible groups of civil society organisations  

  • Convene an all-party leaders meeting and take adequate measures to ensure stable governance and a consistent decision-making system until such time the elections are held. To gather foreign expertise especially from the countries where the current epidemic is successfully contained (medical, disaster, social welfare)