The Alcohol and Drug Information Centre (ADIC) said yesterday, experts and all persons who loved the country, were astounded by government’s decision to re-open bars along with relaxation of curfew. The organisation urged the President to take urgent action against this course of action.
It said in a statement, it was unacceptable for a government which was acting on a scientific basis to address COVID-19, to suddenly abandon all scientific evidence and re-open bars.
The statement reads:
Sri Lanka has been able to control the COVID-19 pandemic effectively due to the timely and accurate decisions taken to curb the pandemic. The success we have achieved so far in controlling the pandemic was achieved as the country’s leadership acted upon the recommendations of public health experts.
Experts and all who love our nation are astounded by the recent decision of government to re-open bars along with relaxation of the curfew.
In recommendations by public health specialists titled “Exit strategy of COVID-19 epidemic in Sri Lanka: Recommendations of the College of Community Physicians” it is clearly stated that bars and alcohol outlets should not be opened. Even without specialist knowledge, any individual can understand that opening bars is not an appropriate decision during a pandemic.
Re-opening bars against the recommendations of public health specialists will lead to the following consequences:
1. Alcohol consumption will weaken the immune system leading to increased risk of contracting coronavirus among alcohol users.
2. Alcohol use can increase road accidents via driving under the influence of alcohol. This will unnecessarily increase the burden on the healthcare system, doctors, nurses and hospital personnel, emergency services, law enforcement officers and public resources, which are already strained due to
3. Increased of use alcohol leads to domestic violence and public conflict and will lead to further burdens on the healthcare system, emergency services and law
4. Individuals who use alcohol in lower-socio economic levels, wasting money on alcohol, further increases the strain on
5. Crowding near bars/alcohol outlets hinders physical distancing.
6. Further, alcohol is generally consumed in groups, obstructing physical distancing .
It is unacceptable that a government which was acting on a scientific basis to address COVID-19 is now abandoning all scientific evidence and re-opening bars.
This scheme is a conspiracy of the alcohol industry, certain government officials and particular politicians. It undermines the President’s plan to rid the country of the COVID-19 pandemic.