Connect with us

Features

Ivermectin – A possible win-win situation

Published

on

BY Dr. Sumedha S. Amarasekara

Ivermectin is a drug that has been increasingly occupying medical attention, following its possible role in the treatment and prevention of SARS-CoV-2 (Covid-19). A news item in the The Sunday Times of 05.09.2021 says, ‘Ivermectin divides doctors while NMRA gives waiver to import drug to stop black market sales’.

Ivermectin:

Ivermectin was discovered in 1975 and had come into medical use by 1981. It is an antiparasitic drug that has antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties. It is a well-known drug, approved as an antiparasitic agent by both the FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) and the WHO (World Health Organization). It is on the list of the WHO’s Essential medicines. It is considered to be extremely safe in the recommended dose (0.2 to 0.4 mg/kg). Over the last 20 to 30 years the medical/scientific community has begun to investigate /appreciate its antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties (Kircik LH, Del Rosso JQ, Layton AM, Schauber J. Over 25 Years of Clinical Experience with Ivermectin: An Overview of Safety for an Increasing Number of Indications. J Drugs Dermatol. 2016 Mar;15(3):325-32. PMID: 26954318)

Ivermectin is also an extremely cheap drug. A 12mg tablet –the normal recommended dose for a 60 kg adult- is around US $ 0.03 -3 cents. The manufacturing cost is estimated at US $ 168 for 1 kilogram. Therefore, as one can work out, to manufacture 12 mg will cost: 168 divided by 1,000,000 and multiplied by 12 = US $ 0.002. Hence the bulk of the cost of the drug is in fact in converting the drug into tablets, packaging and distribution!

Evidence of the use of Ivermectin :

There is an increasing number of news items and journal publications showing the efficacy of Ivermectin’s role in reducing the mortality of Covid-19 and reducing the spread (prophylaxis) of Covid-19 among the population. A case-control study done at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences concluded that two-doses of Ivermectin prophylaxis at a dose of 300μg/kg with a gap of 72 hours was associated with a 73% reduction of SARS-CoV-2 (Covid-19) infection among health care workers for the following month (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7886121/). A meta-analysis published in June this year shows a probable reduction of mortality (i.e. deaths) by 62%, when Ivermectin was used as a therapeutic agent and a possible reduction of spread by 86% when Ivermectin was used as a prophylactic agent(American Journal of Therapeutics 28, e434–e460 (2021).

In fact the control of Coivd-19 in the Northern states of India and across a number of other countries has been attributed to the use of Ivermectin. An increasing number of countries has stated that they are adding Ivermectin on to their arsenal in combating Covid-19 (https://www.youtube.com/c/WhiteboardDoctor/playlists- Ivermectin and Covid-19).

However, the NIH (National Institute of Health) maintains that there isn’t sufficient data to recommend Ivermectin for or against, in the treatment of Covid-19, which is the same stance that has been taken up by the National Medicines Regulatory Authority (NMRA) of this country as well. The WHO’s stand is still that, Ivermectin should not be used outside a clinical trial.

Conducting clinical trials:

To understand this apparent discrepancy between the results of the clinical trials and the stance of the NIH, WHO, etc., requires an insight into the interpretation of clinical trials. In today’s world conducting and interpreting clinical trials is almost a separate discipline on its own and is well beyond the scope of this article (and mine as well!).

However, an understanding of clinical trials and their interpretation is necessary to understand the clinical trials themselves and the decision-making process of these authorities. There is a variety of trials that could be done. The basis of all these trials is that one group of patients is given Ivermectin and the other group is not given Ivermectin. Following the trial, by comparing the mortality rates and spread of Covid-19 (the results) between the two groups, scientists would be able to say what effect Ivermectin has on the mortality and spread of Coivid-19. For the results to be valid, apart from the Ivermectin, everything else between these two groups needs to be the ‘same’, such as the male to female ratio of patients, other illnesses they have, other medication they take, smoking habits, alcohol consumption, etc. As one can see it is not easy to get two comparable groups. Thereafter, if one is treating for Covid -19, both groups need to have the same degree of sickness i.e. the average number of mild to moderate to severe cases should match up. If one is checking for prevention (prophylaxis) then their exposure to ‘known Covid-19 cases’ and ‘potential cases’ needs to match up as well. For example starting from, do they wear one or two masks, what type of masks, do they wear a face shield, do they maintain social distancing; all the time or some of the times, have they been exposed to any known Covid-19 patients, have they attended any weddings, funerals, parties, ‘get togethers’, do they live in apartments or individual houses, do they travel to work using public transport, do they shop on line or in person, etc… etc… As one can see this is even more complex than trying to match groups for treatment. This is what leads to the term Controlled. Thereafter, scientists need to make sure that every patient has an equal chance of either receiving the Ivermectin or not. In other words, there is no bias in who receives and who does not receive the drug. Because inadvertently one might be influenced by whom one gives the drug to i.e. the drug may be given to someone considered sick who needs the drug and not given to one with a milder disease. This process of randomly allocating the treatment leads to the term Randomised. From a patient’s point of view, they may feel psychologically let down by not having received the drug or psychologically boosted by receiving the drug. This can affect their response to the treatment. The doctors monitoring the patient can be influenced as well, if they know whether a patient is taking the drug or not. To eliminate this phenomenon everybody receives ‘the drug’- either the drug or the placebo –originating from the Latin phrase ‘I shall please’. Therefore only those who actually run the trial know, who gets what. So the person/s who gives the ‘drug’ and monitors the patients do not know what they are giving and neither do the patients know what they are receiving which is called a double blind. If all these elements are combined then we arrive at a randomised, double blind, controlled study which is considered as the golden standard.

Interpretation of clinical trials:

So the trial is done and the results are out. Now a complex issue remains as to how certain the scientists are that these results are due to Ivermectin and not due to a natural variation of events. To illustrate this we can look at a hypothetical situation of 10,000 Covid -19 patients that have an overall mortality of 2% i.e. 200 deaths. If we were to divide these patients into lots of 1000, it is extremely unlikely that these deaths would be distributed equally for every lot of 1000 patients. Some lots would have had more deaths, other lots would have had less, averaging out at 20 per group of 1000 i.e. 2%. Now let us assume that the two groups of patients selected of a 1000 each for the study, were to have 10 deaths in one group and 30 deaths in the other –averaging out at 2%. The critical issue to grasp is that, which group is which is not known. Assume Ivermectin was given to the group that was to have 30 deaths and as a result of Ivermectin the death rate was halved and ended up being 15 –a 50% reduction- this is 50% (5) more than that of the control group, so it could be erroneously concluded that Ivermectin does not work, when it actually does work. On the other hand Ivermectin may not actually work, but in this instance it was given to the group that was to have 10 deaths, so erroneously the conclusion is that Ivermectin does work, when in fact it doesn’t. If things were not as complex as it were, it is worthwhile to remember that this natural variation exists for all of the characteristics mentioned above between the two groups as well. This needs to be taken in to account.

So when scientists interpret data, these variations are taken into consideration and there are three main aspects that they consider. The first is the power of the study. That basically means, are there sufficient numbers of patients in the study for the scientists to be able to pick up a true difference that goes beyond the natural variation. The hypothetical study shown above, has very little power; as one could see that the results could not be interpreted due to the natural variation. Next is significance. That is a measure of allowing for chance to be involved in the result. For most studies the significance level, known commonly as a P value is set below 0.05 (P< 0.05). In this context it would mean that, there is less than a 5% chance that the decrease in mortality is, not due to Ivermectin i.e. the chance of Ivermectin causing the decrease in mortality is more than 95%. Thirdly, there is the concept of ‘a confidence interval’. Broadly speaking the narrower the confidence interval the more valid the results are.

Clinical interpretation and Ivermectin:

It is a deficiency of some of the above factors in the clinical trials so far conducted and their subsequent interpretation that have resulted in this stance of the various authorities. Therefore the vital aspect to understand in going forward is that the issue is not primarily to do with the results from all these trials (and other evidence) that have been conducted across the world; that have shown that Ivermectin does work. But, it is to do with the validity of these results. Therefore the view put forward by those who are guarded in their recommendation in the use of Ivermectin, is that the validity (certainty) of these trials is not strong enough for the use of Ivermectin to be recommended. Which of course is not the same as saying that Ivermectin does not work.

This view needs to be counterbalanced by the following facts. Firstly, there have been no significant adverse effects reported in any of the trials conducted using Ivermectin. Secondly, there is only an extremely limited number of drugs that have been recommended in the treatment of Covid-19 and none of these is ‘curative’ in the strictest sense of the word. Thirdly, though vaccination makes a significant difference to the outcome if one were to get Covid-19, it has not been as successful in preventing its spread.

Available options:

The WHO apart from the vaccines, has only recommended a few drugs to be used in the treatment of Covid-19. Remdesivir is one such drug. This is however, only to be used in the treatment of Covid-19 patients, essentially in a hospital environment. A vial of this drug costs over US $ 500. Not exactly a practical solution for us! Besides there are no clinical trials scheduled by the major pharmaceutical companies comparing Remdesivir (US $ 500) with Ivermectin (US $0.03) to be seen in the near horizon. Countries that have already used Ivermectin and are satisfied with its outcomes are not going to be conducting trials to assess a drug that they already find works.

One option is to evaluate all the existing evidence and start using Ivermectin. Prof. Saroj Jayasinghe (Faculty of Medicine, University of Colombo) a highly respected clinician has already written to the Ministry of Health recommending that Ivermectin should be used in the treatment of Covid-19.

However, to take a national stance on a drug not approved by the WHO could be considered ‘irresponsible’ and may jeopardise our future with regard to health and safety issues on an international forum.

Therefore, another option would be to follow the guidelines of the WHO and conduct a clinical trial. The issue that would now cross one’s mind is given in this discussion; conducting a trial that would give valid results would be an extremely complex and arduous undertaking. How does one organise these matching groups etc..?

The solution:

An islandwide clinical trial with the use of Ivermectin.

With regard to an islandwide clinical trial, the numbers will be huge running into millions. This leads to an enormous power and thereby an incredible validity of the study. It also ironically means that the amount of extra data that one needs to record, to make sure that one has matching groups, etc., becomes minimal as well. As a point of illustration, if we were to have a randomised clinical trial–blind or not-across the 14,022 Grama Niladhari Wasams involving around 22 million adults and children, where half are given Ivermectin; the outcome would be dependent on the use of Ivermectin, as the chance of another confounding factor or natural variation affecting one group-of roughly 11 million- and not the other would be almost nonexistent!

Let us not forget that we are probably one of the few countries in the world where countrywide elections are held and the results are given within a day or so.

The WHO will/should give its blessing and if need be, provide help with the necessary expertise (and resources?) to conduct this trial.

This is essentially a win, win

and win situation

An acceptable clinical trial is required to provide the definitive answers-what the WHO, the NIH and our NMRA need. The medical sector would be happy to get the findings they require with a ‘controlled opening of the country’. The country needs to be opened in some manner to assess the prophylactic role of Ivermectin and the ‘government’ would find it feasible and more than willing to do so for economic reasons. The people would be happy to get ‘a drug that would/could work’ and more importantly an easily affordable one in their hour of need.

The advantage of an island wide clinical trial:

There are a number of important points that are extremely favourable in terms of conducting an islandwide clinical trial with Ivermectin.

1. Ivermectin is an extremely safe drug at the prescribed doses. It can be given to children as well, leading to a comprehensive island\wide clinical trial. This is particularly important as we still do not have a proper handle on vaccination when it comes to children.

Given that Ivermectin is already used as an antiparasitic agent and given to children, it can be used separately in an islandwide clinical trial to re-open the schools.

2. Ivermectin is an extremely cheap drug. This is most relevant to us in our current economic predicament. The cost of treating an adult with Covid-19 and /or using Ivermectin as a prophylactic drug (the loading dose and the required tablets for three months) on average will be less than Rs. 500 per person. As the dose is based on body weight, the cost will be less for children.

3. When used as a prophylactic drug, it has an extremely simple dosing schedule – a loading dose administered a couple of days apart then a maintenance dose once a week or at a prescribed interval.

4. The existing trials show a considerable impact from this drug. Based on the existing trials, if Ivermectin were to work, we should be expecting at least a 50% reduction of mortality and at least the same reduction in the spread of the disease, or there about. Therefore the effects of using this drug would be extremely easy to monitor.

5. A very important point, the prevention (i.e. prophylactic) aspect of Ivermectin, starts once the drug has got absorbed into the system – pretty much immediately. When one considers the vaccine, the first dose needs to be given, then a period of at least four weeks has to pass for the body to generate a sufficient immune response for the second dose to be given. Thereafter, a further two to three weeks need to elapse before one is considered to be immune i. e. close upon almost two months. With Ivermectin, if one takes the tablet at night, by morning one is ‘good to go’.

6. Finally, another significant and interesting aspect is that we would be able to evaluate the relative efficacy and interactions between Ivermectin and our vaccines. How does Ivermectin impact on those who have completed both vaccine doses or only had one or have not been vaccinated at all? Looking to the future, how does Ivermectin-given that it has therapeutic as well as prophylactic properties- compare with Vaccination?

The country still faces a dilemma of opening the country vs having an uncontrolled spread of Covid-19. The reality is that we will need to ‘reopen the country’. This is the best time while the country is in a lock down to organise an islandwide clinical trial. Plan what type of trial/trials we want to execute, formulate the primary and secondary questions that need to be answered, identify the significant sub groups, determine what monitoring processes are required, etc. Make necessary plans to reopen the country systematically with an islandwide clinical trial in place.

Hopefully, we shall see the light at the end of the tunnel.



Features

Form-ation of Higher Education in Sri Lanka

Published

on

By Hasini Lecamwasam

Improving higher education in Sri Lanka is not only important, but essential and long overdue. However, seeking to achieve higher ‘quality’ by ‘form-ising’ the performance of teachers (or the practice of forcing the entire teaching-learning exercise into forms designed to communicate exactly what and what transpires in a classroom) may not be able to bring about the desired change. A new set of four forms introduced recently to this end requires, among other things, drawing up a minutely detailed plan of each and every lesson to be delivered in class, aligned with the Course Learning Outcomes (CLOs), in turn, to be aligned with the Programme Learning Outcomes (PLOs), which should all then be tied to the graduate profile, or the kind of graduate we seek to ‘produce’ at the end of it all. This may, on the surface of it, sound reasonable enough and not encourage serious debate or resistance because, after all, it is only some forms that need to be filled.

Form by tedious form, however, the teaching-learning process at state universities is becoming increasingly constricted, fragmented, monitored, controlled. In this piece, I wish to briefly ponder on the implications of these requirements and the larger trends they signal, while also attempting to reflect on what instead we may do to ensure ‘quality’ in the delivery of higher education.

The problem with form-ation

The larger ‘Quality Assurance’ (QA) landscape in which these developments take place was discussed in detail in an earlier Kuppi Talk by Kaushalya Perera. In a nutshell, QA seeks to standardise education such that study programmes can be assessed against each other, assigned numbers, and ranked accordingly. The deployment of overarching yardsticks for programmes with hugely varying mandates, methods, and content has been the subject of much critique lately the world over, not the least due to its rather warped understanding of ‘quality’ as something that can be objectively established through metrics and audits.

While I do not question the bona fide motives behind the initiative taken with the aforementioned forms, I do think serious reflection on where these developments push us in the longer term is needed. My primary reservation here has to do with the impact of this lesson-wise breakdown on the creative and democratic exercise that the teaching-learning process is supposed to entail. When each topic is broken down into such fine detail prior to the actual occurrence of the ‘lesson’ (for want of a better word), outcomes are foreclosed rather than collectively and organically evolving in the course of the ‘lesson’, which is particularly important to many of the subjects offered in the Arts Faculties. Exactly how many of us are actually quite so democratic in our classrooms is a valid question in this regard, and one I will return to. The point for me here, however, is that for those who do have a sincere commitment to such a democratic classroom environment, such forms and the limiting of the teaching-learning experience they constitute, may be tantamount to strangulation.

Even if the majority of us admit to being very controlling in our classrooms anyway, does that justify going one step further with these forms and institutionalising such control? Should not our commitment be to the emancipatory ideal, rather than simply what most are on board with? There should be meaningful space for creative, organic, and democratic teaching-learning processes to unfold for teachers who wish to make that choice, and for students to explore and think beyond the teacher’s frame of thinking. Micromanaging beyond the general content of a course (laid down in enough detail in the course syllabus) is inimical to even a possibility of democracy existing in the classroom and within the larger university space.

This complete subservience of the teaching-learning process to red tape signals a larger and troubling trend of corporatisation. Corporatisation may be defined as the restructuring of a publicly owned institution to be managed as a business place would be, with a view to privatising in the long term. In state universities, this shift is couched in the supposedly ‘progressive’ language of student-centered approaches and interactive classrooms, hijacked from the democratic pedagogy of the likes of Paulo Freire, but bereft of any of the emancipatory politics within which these methods assume meaning. Despite the use of these catch-phrases, however, such minutely detailed forms signal a return to an extremely teacher-centered model due to the absence of the possibility for students to meaningfully influence the outcome of a lesson, as it is predetermined for them.

The result, as the Kannangara report worried with remarkable foresight some 80 years ago, is students “with much knowledge and little understanding. They have not read books; they have “studied” texts. They cannot write, they produce essays after a set style. They can answer questions but not question answers … Their imagination has been stunted, their originality suppressed, their capacity for thought undeveloped, their emotions inhibited.”

What alternative can we propose?

A valid question countering what little resistance there is to form-ation asks how we can ensure the education we currently deliver is of an acceptable standard, and that everybody observes such. There seems to prevail tacit and widespread agreement that the ‘democratic nonsense’ within universities is what has allowed many to hide behind debates, deliberations, appeals to creative freedom, and so on, without actually doing their work.

In my view, this is an arbitrary causation to draw. Blaming internal democracy for negligence of duties fails to take into account the highly anti-democratic practices at universities that may better explain such behaviour.

Specifically, I think it is the rigidly entrenched hierarchy within universities that blocks the possibility of even dialogue, let alone debate, particularly when it comes to holding those higher-up in the ladder accountable for their actions (or the lack thereof, as the case may be). Hierarchy is why, among many other things, students cannot question the content or the methods chosen by their teachers. As previous Kuppi Talks have endeavoured to show, hierarchy is silently, and therefore very effectively, observed at every level, ensuring the trumping of students by teachers, juniors by seniors, women by men, minorities by the majority, and originality by tradition. It impedes questioning, stifles dissent, and smothers alternative thinking altogether. The problem, therefore, is not that we have too much democracy in universities, but too little of it.

We must make a sincere and sustained effort to radically democratise the university space by relaxing the classroom to allow open and honest exchange between students and teachers; changing the relations of power between seniors and juniors, starting with undoing the practice of deferential treatment; refusing to tolerate snide and not-so-subtle references to ways of dressing and similar gendered remarks; questioning the exclusive use of the majority language in official communications, as a starting point. In doing so, we would be subverting the crippling hierarchy that inhibits thought and practice within the university. Such a radical change geared towards improved quality through mutual accountability, for me, is the only acceptable way of introducing accountability to a space that, admittedly, sorely lacks it.

(Hasini Lecamwasam is attached to the Department of Political Science, University of Peradeniya)

Kuppi is a politics and pedagogy happening on the margins of the lecture hall that parodies, subverts, and simultaneously reaffirms social hierarchies.

Continue Reading

Features

THE LOGIC OF PRESIDENT’S PLEDGES IN NEW YORK

Published

on

by Jehan Perera

The significance of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s speech at the UN General Assembly, in New York, last week, was his use of the time allocated to him to provide an outline of the government’s policies towards the main challenges besetting the country. The President covered the main issues that confront the world with his focus on Sri Lanka. These included measures to contain the Covid pandemic, the economic crisis, environmental degradation and violence. In the final section of his well-crafted speech, the President went into some depth regarding the government’s approach to national reconciliation. However, the response within the country, has been muted and for good reason. Those who voted for the government, on an entirely different platform, which emphasised ethnic majority nationalism and anti-international sentiments, are quite probably at a loss.

It is only recently that the government has started to speak in terms of reconciliation and obtaining international support for it. At the two elections that brought this government to power, the Easter Sunday bombing and the consequent threat to national security, took centre stage. The majority, who voted for the government, did so to protect it from a variety of security threats they were told of, both within and outside the country. The wretched failure of the previous government to prevent the bombing, the first terrorist act of any magnitude since the war ended a decade earlier, was attributed to the personal weakness of the then government leaders. It was also attributed to the 19th Amendment which sought to give state institutions protection from use for partisan reasons by government politicians and to consequent disintegration of the system of command and control.

A second theme, at the two elections, was depiction of ethnic and religious minorities as potential security threats. This stemmed from the country’s experience of three decades of internal warfare with the armed Tamil separatist movements. This was followed by the Easter bombings by extremists from the Muslim community, who were feared to be having a vast support base both internally within the country and also externally. In these circumstances, the re-centralisation of power within the government hierarchy and greater role given to the security forces, received public acceptance as being part of the government’s democratic mandate. At the same time, by denying the equally legitimate concerns of the ethnic and religious minorities, the electoral results demonstrated the existence of an acute polarisation, and wound, in the body politic that continues to fester to the point of bringing in involuntary and imposed international interventions.

EU MONITORING

The challenge for the government is to represent the interests of all communities and not only the majority who voted it into power. The problem is that the government’s mandate comes, by and large, from the vote of the ethnic and religious majority in a country that has been polarised on ethnic and religious lines, for many decades. An ugly part of this reality is that in the prisons are several hundreds of Tamils and Muslims for the most part who are in custody for periods ranging from a few months to many years without trial. They are being held under the Prevention of Terrorism Act, ostensibly until the security forces find adequate evidence to put them before the courts of law. This contradicts the rule of law and the presumption in our legal system that we are innocent until proven guilty can have negative consequences.

In June this year, the EU parliament passed a resolution that the GSP Plus tariff privileges, made available to Sri Lanka should be withdrawn unless the government fulfilled its obligations in regard to the upholding of human rights. The resolution, expressing “deep concern over Sri Lanka’s alarming path towards the recurrence of grave human rights violations”, and makes specific reference to the use of the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA). The resolution notes the “continuing discrimination” against and violence towards religious and ethnic minorities, while voicing “serious concern” about the 20th Amendment passed in 2020, and the “resulting decline in judiciary independence, the reduction of parliamentary control, and the excessive accumulation of power with the presidency”. It also highlights “accelerating militarisation” of civilian government functions in Sri Lanka.

A delegation from the EU is currently in Sri Lanka to meet with members of the government, Opposition and civil society, to ascertain whether the country is fulfilling its obligations to be a beneficiary of EU trade benefits. It is likely that the delegation will be provided with evidence of human rights violations and acts of impunity. There are hundreds of persons languishing in prisons without being put on trial, many of whom are Tamils, suspected to be LTTE members, and more of them are Muslims, suspected of having links with the Easter bombings. When questioned in parliament about the latter, the minister in charge justified those detentions on the grounds that Muslim youth, including the Muslim parliamentarian who had questioned him, could contain Islamic State ideology in their heads and therefore be security threats.

NEW DIRECTION

At the last elections, the most potent theme was the failure of the then government to act effectively to protect the country from the Easter suicide bombings and the pressures from human rights actors in Geneva. Among the issues that loomed large at the last election was also the charge that the previous government was giving in too much to the Muslim community within the country. The fact that the Easter attacks were by Muslim suicide bombers added force to this charge. The prioritisation of national security in the election campaign had popular support. The influential religious clergy, associations of professionals and mass media also joined the battle in earnest and their messages reinforced one another. The recent debate in Parliament suggests the government’s thinking continues to be in sync with the mandate it received at those elections.

However, in his speech in New York, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has shown signs of diverging from the politics of the past. The President said “Fostering greater accountability, restorative justice, and meaningful reconciliation through domestic institutions is essential to achieve lasting peace. So too is ensuring more equitable participation in the fruits of economic development. It is my Government’s firm intention to build a prosperous, stable and secure future for all Sri Lankans, regardless of ethnicity, religion, or gender. We are ready to engage with all domestic stakeholders, and to obtain the support of our international partners and the United Nations, in this process.” However, the President’s speech continues to be at variance with the ground realities at the present time and the general manner of governance since the President took office in November 2019.

So far the pledge of a new direction is articulated in words. The time for the government to make the President’s words real and act accordingly is now. This will help to overcome the deep and dark cynicism that has enveloped the country regarding promises made by politicians. The first step would be to apply the logic of the Justice Minister in Parliament. Replying to an Opposition Parliamentarian who called for the arrest of Minister Lohan Ratwatte who stands accused of entering a prison and threatening prisoners with his gun, the justice minister said that everyone is entitled to the presumption of innocence until proven guilty. This also applies to the hundreds of Tamils and Muslims in jail without evidence to charge them in a court of law. The better way to deal with the threats to national security is to win the confidence of all the communities in the Sri Lanka by treating them without discrimination, as children of one mother, as our national anthem proclaims.

Continue Reading

Features

Face shields, sans masks, on TV shows!

Published

on

Face shield ONLY does not provide protection from Covid-19

Covid-19 has claimed many lives, in our part of the world. Quite a few musicians, too, have had to face the music, where this deadly virus is concerned.

However, one is perturbed with the setup seen on some of our TV shows, especially where musicians are concerned.

The Covid-19 guidelines are never adhered to – no masks, no social distancing, etc.

There were reality shows held, post pandemic, where judges were seen even hugging their favourite contestants – with no masks.

With the virus turning deadly, some of the judges took to only wearing face shields. And, we now know the results of their stupidity.

By their irresponsible behaviour (wearing only face shields), they seem to be setting a trend for others to follow.

The question being asked is what are the health authorities doing? Why haven’t such folks been taken to task!

If the man on the street is arrested for not wearing a mask, how come these law-breakers go scot-free!

If wearing a mask is a hassle in an air conditioned setup, then such shows should be put on hold, or held virtual…live stream, zoom, from home, etc., and not with the participation of several artistes, in a studio.

Continue Reading

Trending