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»  Rajgama Heroes !
People first, economy next, says top economist EmptyYesterday at 12:06 pm by කිත්සිරි ද සිල්වා

» Coronavirus Updates
People first, economy next, says top economist EmptyYesterday at 7:26 am by The Invisible

» Thread for News on CSE and SL Economy
People first, economy next, says top economist EmptyYesterday at 7:17 am by The Invisible

» Access Engineering AEL Technical Analysis
People first, economy next, says top economist EmptyYesterday at 7:14 am by The Invisible

» In the Meantime, Within Our Shores !
People first, economy next, says top economist EmptyThu Jul 02, 2020 10:35 pm by කිත්සිරි ද සිල්වා

» Obituary Notice.
People first, economy next, says top economist EmptyWed Jul 01, 2020 12:51 pm by කිත්සිරි ද සිල්වා

»  6000 Post Club , Celebration of a Great Milestone, Slstock
People first, economy next, says top economist EmptyTue Jun 30, 2020 9:35 am by slstock

» LIOC.N0000 (Lanka IOC PLC)
People first, economy next, says top economist EmptyTue Jun 30, 2020 8:00 am by LSE

» How to get Access to: 104 Technical trading experiments by HUNTER
People first, economy next, says top economist EmptyMon Jun 29, 2020 9:35 am by nuwanmja

» Sri Lanka to monetize tens of billions of contractor bills
People first, economy next, says top economist EmptySun Jun 28, 2020 10:30 am by The Invisible

» 104 Technical trading experiments by HUNTER
People first, economy next, says top economist EmptySat Jun 27, 2020 10:27 pm by HUNTER

» CFVF - First Capital
People first, economy next, says top economist EmptySat Jun 27, 2020 10:22 pm by HUNTER

» RCL - Royal Ceramics
People first, economy next, says top economist EmptySat Jun 27, 2020 4:02 am by desh87

» Stocks - Banks Drag Wall Street Lower After Fed Buyback Ban; Dow Down 290
People first, economy next, says top economist EmptyFri Jun 26, 2020 11:35 pm by nihal123

» Sri Lanka plans US$4bn PPP for LRT in place of Japan funded soft-loan project
People first, economy next, says top economist EmptyThu Jun 25, 2020 8:57 pm by The Invisible

» PABC.N0000 (Pan Asia Banking Corporation PLC)
People first, economy next, says top economist EmptyWed Jun 24, 2020 10:37 pm by seek

» JKH.N0000
People first, economy next, says top economist EmptyWed Jun 24, 2020 9:33 pm by The Invisible

» Plantation sector updates
People first, economy next, says top economist EmptyWed Jun 24, 2020 10:32 am by The Invisible

» Dividend Announcements
People first, economy next, says top economist EmptyTue Jun 23, 2020 4:00 pm by Rana

» LOLC Holdings
People first, economy next, says top economist EmptyMon Jun 22, 2020 3:40 pm by Rajapaksap

» Sri Lanka bank bad loans in March 2020 pick up to 5.1-pct
People first, economy next, says top economist EmptyMon Jun 22, 2020 12:50 pm by The Invisible

» The Central Bank of Sri Lanka Further Reduces the Statutory Reserve Ratio
People first, economy next, says top economist EmptyMon Jun 22, 2020 11:53 am by nihal123

» Sri Lanka tea prices pickup marginally mid June
People first, economy next, says top economist EmptySun Jun 21, 2020 8:11 pm by The Invisible

» කොළඹ කොටස් වෙළඳපොළ ඩිජිටල්කරණය කිරීමේ වැඩපිළිවෙල ඇරඹෙයි
People first, economy next, says top economist EmptySun Jun 21, 2020 12:55 pm by HUNTER

» Sri Lankans stock up, buy online in Covid-19 curfews, informal workers hard-hit: survey
People first, economy next, says top economist EmptySun Jun 21, 2020 9:34 am by The Invisible

» Sri Lanka chicken supplies to tighten after Covid-19 crisis, maize import controls
People first, economy next, says top economist EmptySun Jun 21, 2020 9:32 am by The Invisible

» S&P SL20 සමාගම් ලැයිස්තුවේ වෙනසක්.
People first, economy next, says top economist EmptySat Jun 20, 2020 7:56 am by slstock

» HNB රුපියල් බිලියන 5ක ණය යෝජනා ක‍්‍රමයක් දියත් කරයි
People first, economy next, says top economist EmptyFri Jun 19, 2020 10:47 pm by nihal123

» SAMP.N0000 (Sampath Bank PLC)
People first, economy next, says top economist EmptyFri Jun 19, 2020 1:08 pm by dakzsl

» HAYC - Haycarb
People first, economy next, says top economist EmptyFri Jun 19, 2020 12:04 pm by Rational Investor

» විශාලම ලැයිස්තුගත සමාගම් 50 විනිවිදභාවය පිළිබඳ වාර්තාවක් එළිදැක්වෙයි
People first, economy next, says top economist EmptyThu Jun 18, 2020 11:13 pm by nihal123

» HAYL.N0000 Hayleys PLC
People first, economy next, says top economist EmptyThu Jun 18, 2020 7:53 pm by NIRMALSG

» GLAS.N0000 (Piramal Glass Ceylon PLC)
People first, economy next, says top economist EmptyWed Jun 17, 2020 12:29 pm by nuwanmja

» Sri Lanka bank forex funding pressures, bad loans to rise after Covid-19: Fitch
People first, economy next, says top economist EmptyWed Jun 17, 2020 10:43 am by The Invisible

» Sri Lanka telecom regulator asked find businesses to use Lotus Tower
People first, economy next, says top economist EmptyWed Jun 17, 2020 10:33 am by The Invisible

» Gota's Era
People first, economy next, says top economist EmptyTue Jun 16, 2020 2:40 pm by puliyanam

» Fitch Revises Ratings on 11 Sri Lankan Financial
People first, economy next, says top economist EmptySat Jun 13, 2020 11:58 am by spw19721

» Carlton Sports Network to resume broadcasts soon – Rohan Welivita
People first, economy next, says top economist EmptyFri Jun 12, 2020 11:27 am by Rajapaksap

» සල්ලි අච්චු ගැසුවාද?
People first, economy next, says top economist EmptyWed Jun 10, 2020 11:35 pm by nihal123

» වටිනා පාඩමක්!
People first, economy next, says top economist EmptyWed Jun 10, 2020 9:58 pm by Backstage

» Sri Lanka’s General Election on August 05
People first, economy next, says top economist EmptyWed Jun 10, 2020 3:08 pm by The Invisible

» Hayleys MGT
People first, economy next, says top economist EmptyTue Jun 09, 2020 11:16 am by The Invisible

» AEL Access Engineering
People first, economy next, says top economist EmptyTue Jun 09, 2020 11:08 am by The Invisible

» Sri Lanka import controls, cargo bottleneck hit apparel exporters
People first, economy next, says top economist EmptyMon Jun 08, 2020 4:12 pm by The Invisible

» Sri Lanka tea prices ease lower, low growns drive May average to all time high
People first, economy next, says top economist EmptyMon Jun 08, 2020 8:47 am by slstock

» Sri Lanka plans to allow tourists from August, no mandatory quarantine
People first, economy next, says top economist EmptySat Jun 06, 2020 3:05 pm by Antonym

» Sri Lanka makes trillion rupee mini-budget till August under Presidential powers
People first, economy next, says top economist EmptyFri Jun 05, 2020 10:48 am by The Invisible

» HHL.N0000 ( Hemas Holdings PLC)
People first, economy next, says top economist EmptyThu Jun 04, 2020 4:32 pm by Backstage

» LION.N0000 (Lion Brewery Ceylon PLC)
People first, economy next, says top economist EmptyThu Jun 04, 2020 2:21 pm by The Invisible

» කොටස්--වෙළෙඳපොළ--වැසුවාද
People first, economy next, says top economist EmptyWed Jun 03, 2020 9:49 pm by nihal123

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People first, economy next, says top economist Empty People first, economy next, says top economist

Post by Backstage on Fri Mar 20, 2020 9:59 am


People first, economy next, says top economist
Fighting COVID-19

20 March 2020 04:17 am -
Nishan De Mel

Economist Nishan De Mel says goal should be to reduce overall harm; hence methods used to reduce COVID-19 spread do matter
Stopping economic production and services declaring holidays is too blunt a method for reducing people movement
Level of lock-down can be decided based on the mathematics of a sustainable spread



By Shabiya Ali Ahlam
As Sri Lanka is witnessing its economy coming to an almost stagnant state due to the unavoidable measures taken by the government to contain the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, a leading economist in the country stressed the priorities of the political leadership should be ensuring the best for the people over all other things.


The government was quick to take precautionary measures which included closing of schools Island wide and declaring public holidays, which were requested to be extended to the private sector.


However, a social media wave was seen this week calling for a total lock-down, which comes with its own set of challenges to the economy.


“In such instances the focus of economic thinking should not be on overall GDP, lost revenue or lost trade, but on the impact that both the virus and the lock-downs will have on people’s lives.


The basic objective of good economic policies is to improve the quality of life, and to do that in a sustainable manner; GDP, trade, and revenue are only means to an end. We must not confuse them as being the end objective,” Verite Research Executive Director Dr. Nishan De Mel told Mirror Business.


The senior economist said, therefore focusing directly on the goal of improving material outcomes can provide more clarity for economic decision making, especially in the short term.

According to de Mel, there are two kinds of human vulnerabilities the relevant authorities should be concerned about, in the present context.


The first is the elderly who are most at risk, in terms of serious negative outcomes from COVID-19, and the second vulnerability the country should be concerned about is that of the poor who depend on daily income for their sustenance.


While special measures can be considered for protecting and supporting the elderly, pausing economic activity to protect the spread of COVID-19 can have quite serious negative consequences on the lives of poor daily wage earners, de Mel stressed.


“The methods for protecting the spread of COVID-19 should be sensitive to the negative impacts of those methods on the lives of the most vulnerable. The goal should be to reduce overall harm, therefore the methods selected to reduce the spread of COVID-19 do matter,” the economist cautioned.


Starting Monday (16), the government declared an all island holiday, which was extended till yesterday. The move led to a halt of operations in the business community, including the stock market, which delivered a blow to daily wage earners and those who are self-employed.


De Mel opined that stopping economic production and services declaring “holidays” is too blunt a method for reducing people movement, when the focus is on reducing overall harm.


According to him, a more targeted and less damaging method of reducing the spread of COVID-19 could be adopted through arrangements such as ‘work from home’ and for such must be supported by the government regulations and policy.


De Mel noted that epidemiologically, it would seem that the best strategy for any country was to work on slowing down the rate at which the virus will spread as it would ensure the number of people who are ill with the virus at any given time, and need medical care to get well, does not exceed the capacity of the health system.
“Therefore, the level of lock-down can be decided based on the mathematics of a sustainable spread,” he added.


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