- Says effectiveness of social distancing dips to 50% when curfew is lifted sporadically
- Concerned over potential hotspots such as Dambulla Economic Centre and Manning Market
- Calls for Kotelawala Teaching Hospital to be made a dedicated COVID-19 facility, expansion of ICU beds
- Highlights importing rapid testing methods as 80% of patients show mild symptoms
- Says better delivery of food, medicine and banking facilities needed to ramp up social distancing to 80% countrywide
The Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) has called for an immediate reversal of the decision to lift curfew temporarily, in addition to limiting travel between districts.
In a statement issued yesterday, the GMOA proposed several measures to contain the spread of COVID-19 in Sri Lanka and asked the Government to take strict decisions on hotspots like the Dambulla Economic Centre and Manning Market. It also requested the Government to review guidelines to the public on wearing a face mask.
The association also advised that all ports should remain closed until the global situation is under control and suggested measures to increase the capacity of hospitals in the country. It recommended dedicating the Teaching Hospital at the Kotelawala Defence University for COVID-19 treatment and asked that the supply of medical equipment not be interrupted.
It was also important to increase medical staff, the GMOA stated, explaining that there may be shortfalls if healthcare professionals were required to self-quarantine due to exposure or if they contracted the virus themselves. They also noted that proposals presented to the relevant authorities on increasing the number of Intensive Care Unit (ICU) beds in the country were yet to receive a favourable response.
The GMOA also highlighted the importance of bringing down rapid testing methods to the country as well as expanding testing, especially since 80% of patients only show mild symptoms. It was also important to identify and quarantine those who had made contact with individuals who had tested positive for COVID-19, the GMOA said.
The association also recommended regular awareness campaigns on the importance of remaining at home and stated that social distancing would take place at only 50% when curfew was temporarily lifted. It also stated that social distancing was taking place at over 90% in areas that were sealed off and 70% in high risk areas where curfew had been imposed.
The ideal level of social distancing is 80% and the GMOA asked that systems be strengthened in order to bring banking, food, and medical supply deliveries to households.
In addition to this, the GMOA suggested awareness campaigns on personal hygiene practices that could curtail the spread of the virus.