While urging the President to continue with the current lockdown measures uninterrupted, Sri Lanka Medical Association (SLMA) said lifting the lockdown even for a few days would escalate the COVID-19 situation increasing numbers of cases and causing unacceptable mortality.
The Government has announced that the prevailing travel restrictions would be lifted from June 21 to 23 and re-imposed from 23 to 25.
In a letter to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the SLAM said lifting the curfew would take the country back to the major epidemic situation which prevailed in April this year.
“The country is still experiencing more than 2000 new cases and around 50 deaths every day. To complicate this situation further, there is also evidence of the Delta variant of the COVID-19 virus being prevalent in the community. This variant is fifty per cent more transmissible than the currently dominant variant,” the SLMA pointed out.
“Accordingly, a release of the current lockdown even for a few days will lead to the uncontrolled free movement of people and would thereby lead to an alarming increase in transmission, with rapid spread of the new variant. The epidemic will thereby escalate to an unprecedented level, causing increasing numbers of cases and unacceptable mortality, on a scale that could completely overwhelm the health system,” it stressed.
Meanwhile, the SLMA said when it is deemed appropriate to ease the lockdown, it would have to be done in a carefully phased manner on a district-basis, grounded on reliable real-time data at district level, rather than in the country as a whole.
“Accordingly, the SLMA & SLMA Inter-Collegiate Committee (SMIC) are in the process of developing an “exit strategy” that will be handed over to the Government during the course of this week where district level Committees of Community Physicians are established to analyse good quality real-time data and decide on the level of mobility restriction within the district on the basis of several relevant criteria that we have identified,” it added