The Sri Lanka Medical Association (SLMA) criticised the government for relaxing health and travel restrictions at public gatherings, public transport and recreational activities, increasing the vulnerability of the country to a resurgence of COVID-19.
It said the country was shifting back to the behaviour of the pre-COVID era as key measures are not adequately applied and monitored by the government.
“It is tremendously disheartening to see what was achieved by a massive campaign to take the country to a new-normal situation being reversed. Most unfortunately, it seems to be complicated by some regressive set of steps that have been taken which could contribute towards dragging the entire country towards the catastrophic status that is akin to that faced by many other nations the world over,” the statement said.
The SLMA believes that relaxing of health and travel restrictions have probably paved the way to change the mindset of the people to abandon the very necessary control measures. It said health and travel restrictions such as keeping the much-needed physical distancing, frequent hand washing, etc, are largely disappearing, thereby increasing the risk of viral spread in the community.
“Even proper wearing of masks in public places is not strictly adhered to. Disappearance of those healthy behaviours seems to be largely due to fast relaxation of control measures indicating that the risk of COVID-19 is no more. This false notion is extremely harmful and it will be hard to revert to healthy behaviour in case of a resurgence,” the SLMA said.
The statement signed by the SLMA President Prof. Indika Karunathilake, Vice President Prof Manuj Weerasinghe and the Convener Dr. Ananda Wijewickrama, emphasised that the country needs to be alerted by the increasing caseload of neighbouring countries and unprecedented resurgence of cases in countries which earlier claimed to have controlled the pandemic.
The SLMA appealed to the government to enhance the campaign to strengthen the behaviour towards the new-normal, by continuing the strict application of control measures and making it a mandatory requirement on the part of the people to conform to the advice provided by the health professionals, who are conversant on the subject.
Blurb -- Even proper wearing of masks in public places is not strictly adhered to. Disappearance of those healthy behaviours seems to be largely due to fast relaxation of control measures indicating that the risk of COVID-19 is no more