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Medical associations demand lockdown for two weeks

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The Sri Lanka Medical Association (SLMA) along with the Government Medical Officers Association, Association of Medical Specialists (AMS) and Sri Lanka Medical Intercollegiate Committee (SMIC) yesterday urged the government to lockdown the country for at least two weeks (14 days), at a stretch.

The four organisations said that it would not be long before the hospitals were overwhelmed. This will lead to a breakdown of the health sector. Any of the steps implemented so far had not been able to get the situation under control, they said.

The medical associations said that the detected number of daily cases had crossed the 3,000 mark and the actual number in the community was three times that figure.

“When the infection is spreading this extensively, there is no country that has managed to contain the infection without a strict lockdown (or curfew) being declared. As such, while acknowledging the very significant short-term hardships the common man will have to face, we see no option than a strictly implemented mobility restriction as an effective strategy that is left to contain the infection,” SLMA said in a media statement.

The decision to call for a lockdown was taken on the scientific observations given below:

“1. Minimum 14 days would cover two cycles of incubation periods of the infection that is likely to be adequate to break the chain of uncontrolled spread of the disease.

“2. The infection is rampant in all provinces, making inter provincial travel restrictions to be of no useful benefit at this stage of the outbreak.

“3. As isolation of Grama Niladhari (GN) divisions occur with a 5 – 7day delay following the detection of cases, isolation of GN Divisions does not serve the purpose of restricting the transmission of infection. By the time the GN divisions are isolated, the infection with an inherent very high transmissibility has spread way beyond the GN divisions.

“4. Country-wide lockdown for just a few days at a stretch will not have any significant effect on the case load or transmission of the disease as it does not cover even one incubation period to reduce infectivity and transmission of the infection.

“5. Repeated, intermittent and short lockdowns, with people coming together for work in enclosed areas following this, will not have any benefit on the economy as it will only create a scenario that will only increase the numbers of COVID-19 cases within these premises

“6. Letting people go out according to National Identity Card numbers is unlikely to serve any purpose at this stage of infection characterised by very high transmissibility.

“7. Allowing public transport with seated passengers, 25% of the capacity of customers in supermarkets, restaurants (dining in), hotels, rest houses, shopping malls, shops etc., will increase the number of cases at this stage of spread of infection in the community.

In addition, a 14-day complete lockdown or a curfew at a stretch at this crucial juncture will have a much healthier impact on the economy, in the formal as well as the informal sectors, and the health sector, rather than isolating sections of the country randomly or by interprovincial travel restrictions.”



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Outgoing Bulgarian Ambassador calls on the President

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(pic PMD)

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