Posted on November 29th, 2021

Lankaweb Editorial

Nov. 30th 2021

There seems to be a frightening revelation of the Nation’s Health Defenses according to the latest information reports where due to lax testing at the National Airport Katunayake the country could be vulnerable to the latest Covid Variations.

Quoting from the Island News

.”Due to the lax testing at the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA), there is a strong possibility that any new variant of COVID-19 entering the country, College of Medical Laboratory Science (CMLS) President, Ravi Kumudesh commenting on the detection of a new Corona virus variant spreading in South Africa.According to this – Even a travel ban would be useless unless the country enhances its testing and surveillance capacities, Kumudesh said.

The report suggests that PCR tests were not conducted on passengers on arrival and that it was likely that even those not fully vaccinated were entering the country. Gene Sequencing with respect to those infected with COVID inside the country was at a minimal level, and therefore, there is no way we can find out whether a new variant has entered the country until it is too late.“end quote

So why is it that – despite there being two state-of-the-art labs at the BIA no tests have been done there ! The country appears to be unprepared where several nations are imposing bans on travel from South Africa and the region where the time factor in implementing bans could prove vital due to the speed at which these variants propagate.

Sri Lanka has presently imposed a ban where having delayed it rather than acting promptly although even a travel ban might be ineffective now due to the delay and appears to be gross neglect or inefficiency on the part of the authorities concerned.

To add to the consternation and anxieties related, the report indicates that the number of PCR tests conducted had dropped to such a low level that reagents used in some labs for PCR testing are now nearing the expiry dates. The attitude of health officials at the airport is such that everyone operates on the basis that testing of passengers is not important.This suggests apathy and needs to be acted upon stringently and those responsible brought to task!

The Institute of Health concludes that the detection of the new South African variant `Omniron`  is potentially hazardous and a danger for all countries especially for Sri Lanka which is vulnerable from many perspectives including the lax responses from the authorities and, dwindling resources which could prove to be calamitous and  have dire ramifications for all citizens already caught up in a vortex of uncertainty both from a health perspective as well as financially as the administration teeters on the brink of uncertainty and perhaps seen as scrambling to steady the ship in a maelstrom of confusion and the patience of the population wearing thin.

The report quoted earlier also bears further chilling news that “Countries like South Africa, Peru, etc., who had such high levels of infection that much of their population was infected more than once, still continue to suffer new waves of infection. Because most of the world is following the misguided strategy of just accepting the virus,  it has plenty of chances to keep on mutating more. It has also been observed that the virus is circulating more than ever before.Furthermore despite a lot of speculation about how T-cell immunity is going to protect us, there’s really no evidence that either infection or current vaccines and boosters will ever give us long-lasting immunity. We simply don’t know.”

So this is bad news for all of us humans on planet earth, but very definitely for us in Sri Lanka. Why? Because based on how our medical establishment and govt authorities think, we will be slow or refuse to put the necessary border controls in to prevent this entering. And when it does enter-which is inevitable if this variant spreads globally–we will be slow to detect its entry, we will refuse to sound the alarm, and we will do everything but actually attempt to stop it.

That’s been our track record, so why would it change? Worth noting that if this starts a new wave in Southern Africa, it’s just three to four months after their third wave. So just as immunity starts waning appreciably from natural infection (or vaccines). That gives us a strong hint of what our future holds unless we end this pandemic.” end quote veritably.

Sri Lanka having been the cynosure of the world once, about how the pandemic was handled admirably has now lost that status and at the mercy of the elements where the authorities seem to be pathetically clutching at straws where it is up to the Leadership of the President and his team to seek out the panacea towards restitution which now seems no mean task but the Nation  certainly depends on his manoeuvrability and choices.

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