SLMA's recommendations to prevent next COVID-19 wave

Rebecca Pavey | Published: 2:08 PM Oct 27 2021
Local SLMA's recommendations to prevent next COVID-19 wave

The Sri Lanka Medical Association (SLMA) has listed four recommendations to prevent another potential surge of COVID-19.

Owing to the recent relaxing of COVID-19 guidelines, the SLMA raised concerns that another wave of the virus will be extremely deleterious to the health and the economy of the country, if not prevented.

Accordingly, the following recommendations were made by the medical body;

Stringent enforcement of current regulations

Despite the issuance of reasonable COVID-19 guidelines and regulations by the Ministry of Health, the SLMA noted that the implementation of said regulations is rather weak, and are widely disobeyed.

They urged that the Government takes adequate measures in this regard, and enforce regulations such as the wearing of face masks and maintaining social distance in public places through a system of close monitoring.

Third dose/booster of Pfizer vaccine to priority groups

The SLMA requested that a booster shot of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine be administered to healthcare workers, those aged over 60, and those aged below 60 years with immune deficiency.

They noted that with the lifting of travel restrictions and the reopening of schools, people within these priority groups have a higher chance of contracting the virus despite being vaccinated, due to the lack of immunity against COVID-19.

Further, it was stated that healthcare workers too, remain exposed to the virus, as they are now completing six months following the last dose of their COVISHIELD vaccine and their immunity levels will begin to wane. 

Continue with restrictions on super-spreader situations and events

The Government was urged to further delay the complete relaxation of COVID-19 regulations pertaining to public events and large gatherings within enclosed spaces, so as to prevent the creation of super-spreader situations. 

Thus, the SLMA requested that the Government continues to restrict numbers at weddings, religious events, funerals, musical shows, gatherings at clubs and other such events in enclosed environments. 

Sustain a high level of case surveillance by testing

Explaining the importance of early detection of a rise in infections for the prevention of another wave of COVID-19, the SLMA requested the Ministry of Health to maintain a high level of testing for COVID-19 within the community.

They noted that careful surveillance would enable the government to take prompt action to prevent an escalation of the disease again, adding that strengthening the routine surveillance system for COVID-19 is of paramount importance. 

They also requested that the ‘Severe Acute Respiratory Tract Infections’ (SARI) surveillance system in OPDs of all major hospitals also be strengthened further. 

Rebecca Pavey | Published: 2:08 PM Oct 27 2021

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