SL’s COVID-19 situation becoming as bad as India’s – JVP
By Treshan Fernando
Sri Lanka’s COVID-19 situation is slowly turning as bad as India’s, warned JVP politburo member Bimal Ratnayake. He expressed these views at a Media conference yesterday (3) and accused the Government of being unprepared despite dealing with the pandemic for more than a year.
Ratnayake said the Government is now calling this the third wave the New Year cluster, despite finding cases across the island. He opined that the Government should adopt scientific measures if they are to successfully control this new wave. “We understand the economic impact of shutting down the country, but the primary objective should always be to protect the lives of the people,” Ratnayake asserted.
He alleged that the Government is putting businesses first and the lives of the people second. Dr. Nalinda Jayatissa, who also spoke at the briefing, said that by 8 April, scientists had identified the UK variant of COVID-19 in Sri Lanka. Following this the President, Health Minister and other authorities were informed. However, Dr. Jayatissa questioned if the Government took any steps at allfollowing this revelation.
He warned that ICU beds and oxygen stores of the country are running low. Dr. Jayatissa alleged that even travel restriction recommendations made by the Ministry of Health are being defeated by higher-ups. He added that to contain the spread of COVID-19, certain restrictions of movement must be adopted.
If these restrictions are not imposed when necessary, then COVID-19 will spread further and he noted that important activities, such as children being able to attend schools, will be further delayed. He also noted that when Sri Lanka received 1.2 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, international groups had asked Sri Lanka to inoculate according to a plan. These guidelines stated that half the doses should be kept for the second dose.
However, the Government gave the vaccine to as many people as they could instead of following these international guidelines, Dr. Jayatissa said. As a result, the deadline for the second dose was pushed from three weeks to six weeks to 12 weeks. Now, they are trying to administer a second dose from a different vaccine due to a shortage, Dr. Jayatissa claimed. “This is entirely unscientific.”
He urged the Government to swiftly administer the second dose, at least for front line workers. Dr. Jayatissa stressed that the only way to prevent loss of life is for the Government to listen to experts and follow their recommendations and Dr. Jayatissa urged the Government to implement their