COVID19The global mortality rate of COVID-19 currently less than 5%, which is much lower than those of SARS (≈10%), MERS (≈35%) and Ebola (≈50%). However, it is more infectious and differs from other pandemics in terms of the infectious period, transmissibility, clinical severity and the extent of community spread. When compared with many developed countries, Sri Lanka has made great strides in combating COVID-19 and keeping the mortality rate low. For instance, the case fatality rate (ratio of confirmed deaths to confirmed cases) thus far observed in Sri Lanka is only about 0.6% as against 19.1 % in France, 14.3% in Italy, 7.8% in Canada, 5.6% in China, 4.1% in Cuba, 2.9% in India and 2.4% in S. Korea.

Therefore, the achievements of Sri Lanka are commendable in a global context. They were made possible by a combination of the relevant authorities fulfilling their mission with dedication, devotion and distinction and the resolute and effective leadership of the country at a time when the whole globe was shaken by an unprecedented pandemic. 

In the course of combatting COVID-19, a wide range of lessons were learnt, many best practices were identified, and new knowledge, insights, competencies and experiences were gained. They ought to be further studied, refined, analyzed, interpreted and documented for the benefit of posterity. This should be done without delay lest a lot of the valuable information gathered, and the knowledge gained is lost forever.  

Against this backdrop, the NSF will conduct a 2-day national conference titled “COVID-19: Impact, Mitigation, Opportunities and Building Resilience” under the theme “From Adversity to Serendipity” in January 2021. It aims at bringing all the key players of the relevant public and private sector institutions under one roof to deliberate and reflect on the above aspects of the pandemic so as to build a robust and resilient community and economy in Sri Lanka.

The proceedings of the conference will be edited and published in a landmark treatise which will be valuable not only to Sri Lanka, but also to the rest of the world in coping with, and mitigating the impact of, such pandemics in the future.

National Science Foundation,
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