Senior Medical Specialists yesterday warned that if the current spread of COVID-19 is ignored Sri Lankan could end up becoming another Brazil or India.
President of the Association of Medical Specialists (AMS) Dr.L.A.Ranasinghe, Senior Consultant surgeon told Daily Mirror that they suspect there is an imminent or established community transmission of COVID-19 in Sri Lanka.
The senior consultant said that according to the way that cases are being reported from July 14, the situation appears to be pretty serious.
Senior Consultant Dr. Ranasinghe explained that there are scatters of infections. “Some people label this as cluster infections. These infected individuals may have been infecting their associates and friends,” he said.
The Association of Medical Specialists, an independent body with over 1300 senior specialists serving in the government sector, cautioned that to stop the present spread of the pandemic all public gatherings including political rallies should be banned.
“Banning public gatherings including political rallies, tuition classes,
review and readjust the time tables of school reopening and re-imposing restrictions for public transport etc. will be vital,” the organization stated.
It also stressed that the government should act fast without pretending that
there is no crisis and said if necessary the country should go for limited lockdowns.
Dr. Ranasinghe who said that it was wise to accept the present situation and prepare for the worse added that there is a feeling that the number of cases reported may not be all that dependable and reliable as quite a percentage of cases may have gone overlooked.
“We strongly feel that it would be quite prudent to assume as established community transmission even as low grade in order to minimise further spread and it's dreadful eventualities,” the AMS in its statement noted.
The specialists also cautioned about the limited healthcare facilities in the country to control the epidemic. “We should never ignore the fact that our existing healthcare capacity with its limitations will not be able to meet the national treatment requirements. It will be far worse when it comes to intensive care,”
It urged the government to enforce stern restriction to contain the spread of the COVID-19 Pandemic before it is too late.
“Expanding PCR testing of at risk groups and random community testing would be crucial. Active contact tracing and if nececssary even limited lock downs should also be implemented without any hesitation”.(Susitha Fernando)