Medical experts warn of possible Covid-19 wave, propose counter measures


Sri Lanka Medical Association (SLMA), an independent organization of medical experts, has warned of a possible new wave of Covid 19 virus in the future with restrictions being relaxed.

In a letter to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the SLMA said after considering the similar situation in countries such as the United Kingdom, Singapore and Israel, another wave can emerge with more public movement taking place with restrictions being relaxed.

“We consider it more important than ever before that precise steps are taken at this point of time within the context of the current regulations to prevent another surge of infections,” the SLMA said.

It said another hit can be extremely unfavorable for the health sector and the economy of the country.

Due to the possible conditions that can be faced by the country SLMA has recommended four steps:

Stringent enforcement of current regulations by monitoring

The SLMA said even though the Ministry of Health has issued health guidelines for the public to follow with the relaxation of the restriction, they are not being implemented successfully and the general public is disobeying them.

It said, even basic health guidelines have also been disobeyed by the public and therefore urge the government to take adequate measures to ensure the regulations or guidelines are being properly enforced through a system of close monitoring and ensuring the guidelines are fully implemented.

Third dose/ booster dose of Pfizer vaccine to priority groups

SLMA said, the recent studies have shown that 7 per cent of the elderly population of the country who received the Chinese Sinopharm vaccine has not developed adequate level of immunity against the virus.

With the public movement increasing and the possibility of the spreading accelerating, the SLMA said the risk of elderly getting the virus has increased and they are more prone than other groups to severe conditions and death.

The SLMA also has said the front line workers are completing six months following the second dose.

The SLMA has recommended the third or booster dose to be rolled out without further delay for the above 60 population, below 60 years olds with immune deficiency states and front line workers in the pandemic.

“This should be considered as one of the highest priority activities to do in order to prevent another wave,” the SLAM said.

Continue with restrictions on super spreader situations and events

Crowded enclosed environments constitute super spreader situations for Covid 19 infection, the SLMA said, asking the government to delay further relaxations of restrictions regarding public events by restricting number at weddings, religious events, funerals, musical shows, gathering at clubs or enclosed environments.

Sustain a high level of case surveillance by testing

The SLMA said early detection of positive cases is important to prevent another wave and the Ministry of Health should take adequate steps such as strengthening the routine surveillance system for Covid 19.

The SLMA said authorities should maintain a high number of Covid testing in the community and also should strengthen the ‘Severe Acute Respiratory Tract Infections’ surveillance system in OPDs of all major hospitals in the country.