කොරෝනා අර්බුදය ඉක්මනින් අවසන් නොවන ලකුණු-අප දිගු සටනකට සුදානම් විය යුතුයි.

වර්තමාන අගුලු දැමීම (අප රටට පමණක් නොව ලොව පුරා බිලියන 2ක ජනතාවට බලපාන) තුලින් කොවිඩ්-19 කොතරම් බරපතලද යන්න සෑම කෙනෙකුටම පැහැදිලි විය යුතුයි. බොහෝ දෙනා තවමත් තේරුම් ගෙන නැත්තේ ගුවන් තොටුපල වසා දැමිමෙන් සහ මාසයක් අගුළු දැමිමෙන් පවා මෙම ගැටලුව පහව නොයන බවය. Continue reading

சிறப்பான தலைமைத்துவதிற்கு Brandix-க்கு நன்றி!

COVID-19 நெருக்கடிக்கு முகம்கொடுப்பதற்கு Brandix நிறுவனம் தனது நிர்வாக உத்தியோகத்தர்களின் ஊதியத்தில் பாரிய குறைப்புகளை செய்வதாக அதன் தலைமை நிர்வாக அதிகாரி அஷ்ரோஃப் ஓமார் தனது ஊழியர்களிடம் அன்மையில் கூறியுள்ளார். அவரது ஊதியத்தையும் ஏனைய மற்றும் அனைத்து இயக்குநர் சபை உறுப்பினர்களின் ஊதியத்தையும் ஆறு மாதங்களுக்கு இடைநிறுத்தி, மேலும் அனைத்து மேலாளர்களின் ஊதியங்களையும் 5% முதல் 60% வரை Brandix குறைக்கிறது. Continue reading

Thank you Brandix for true leadership!

Brandix CEO Ashroff Omar just told his staff that Brandix is making big cuts in executive pay in response to the COVID-19 crisis. Brandix is suspending Mr Omar’s own pay as CEO and that of all Board members for six months, and cutting the pay of all managers by 5 to 60%. Continue reading

COVID-19 crisis will not be over soon – We need to prepare for a long slog

The current lock-down – not only here but affecting two billion people around the world – should make it clear to everyone how serious COVID-19 is. What many still do not appreciate is that closing our ports and even a one month lockdown will not make the problem go away.

Let me be clear first about the good news – we appear on track to control the current surge in cases. So far almost all cases are linked to Sri Lankans returning from foreign travel, and there is little transmission between people in Sri Lanka.

When we get through this lockdown, life will not return to normal for at least the next 12 months. Our political leaders need to explain this, to prepare everyone for a long slog. To adapt the words of Winston Churchill at a similar moment: Defeating the current surge would not be the end. It would not even be the beginning of the end. But it might be, perhaps, the end of the beginning. In the absence of any effort to trust the public with what the long term strategy is, I provide an expert assessment of prospects. Continue reading

Cost benefit analysis supports much more aggressive testing than current MOH strategy

The lockdown (national curfews, work at home, school closures) plus MOH actively tracing contacts of foreign arrivals should work in controlling the current outbreak and could bring new cases down to zero within ten days. There are signs of that happening in the latest data.

MOH’s strategy will work in stopping the spread of the virus, but it is not sufficient and it cannot be sustained. The economy is at a standstill, unemployment will rise, businesses will go bankrupt, living standards will fall, and the government has no revenue. We need to allow businesses and schools to re-open to restart normal life and to get the economy going. Continue reading

India may be failing to detect community transmission of Covid-19 because of inadequate testing

Our graphical vizualisation of the Epidemiology Unit’s data on Covid-19 cases in Sri Lanka attracted attention in India, and I was interviewed by The Hindu, whose article appears here. Continue reading

Visualization of the source of COVID-19 cases in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka has still to start releasing daily details of its Covid-19 cases and the findings of the critically important contact tracing effort, as does Singapore and Hong Kong. See here, here and here for how Singapore’s health ministry keeps Singaporeans informed. This is unfortunate as doing so would help build public confidence and understanding of the difficult measures that are needed, as well as help to combat rumour and fake news. Doubly unfortunate, because greater transparency would probably reflect well on the efforts of the Epidemiology Unit of the Ministry of Health.

On the positive side, the Health Promotion Bureau has been innovative in its decision to publish a regularly updated data feed on overall numbers, and in the past few days the Epidemiology Unit has released online details of cases to date. Based on that initial release, which I really hope is updated daily, our team at IHP – Nilmini Wijemunige, Yasodhara Kapuge, Chathurani Sigera and Nishani Gunawardana– generated the graphic below summarising what we know about the first 78 cases (as of 22 March). Continue reading