The number of COVID-19 patients In Sri Lanka had increased to 101 as of Tuesday with the possibility of these numbers increasing by the time this edition is uploaded into the system.
The sudden extension of the curfew, which was lifted at 6.00 a.m. on Tuesday and re-imposed at 2.00 p.m. instead of the earlier announced
12.00 p.m., and to be continued indefinitely in the Districts of Colombo, Gampaha and Kalutara, which have been designated as high-risk areas caught people by surprise. They were seen queuing up from early morning at supermarkets and small boutiques with the call for social distancing making some of the queues more than a mile long. With the survival instinct uppermost in people’s minds; panic buying of essential commodities was the order of the day. We could only hope that the anxious customers returned home with whatever they needed or under these circumstances with even part of their required provisions. Even pharmacy staff had their hands full having to cater to its anxious customers clamouring to stock up on their medicinal drugs.
We wonder how this crisis situation will finally pan out, with the government having the unenviable task of providing uninterrupted healthcare services to the sick while making sure that those, who are currently healthy continue to remain so and the essential commodities required by householders, especially where there are little children including infants, are properly distributed during these turbulent times.
It would be extremely difficult for the government to move ahead in mitigating or controlling this crisis, with the least amount of negative repercussions, without the cooperation of every single citizen. This is an opportune moment to be reminded of the challenge posed by President John F. Kennedy who said, ‘ask not what your country can do for you, but instead ask what you can do for your country’.
It is heartening to note that several private sector conglomerates mainly those in the hospitality industry have chipped in to help the government overcome the current situation by offering their star-class hotels in Sri Lanka to the National Operation Centre, to be used for quarantine purposes in case the need arises.
The news of several curfew-breakers being arrested is not going to make the government’s task any easier but rather will compel the government to impose more stringent regulations. The curfew was imposed with an important purpose in mind, mainly to curb the spread of the coronavirus and to rope in those who have returned from virus-affected countries but had selfishly avoided undergoing the mandatory period of quarantine.
Meanwhile, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the number of coronavirus-infected patients is increasing rapidly, both locally and globally with the inroads made by this deadly virus, into nearly all countries and all sectors of society worldwide, showing no signs of abating or waning but is seen to be rapidly increasing with those tested positive going beyond 350,000 and deaths soaring to more than 15,000.
“The pandemic is accelerating,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a news briefing from the organization’s Geneva headquarters a few days ago. “It took 67 days from the first reported case to reach 100,000, 11 days for the second 100,000 and just four days for the third 100,000 cases.”
The WHO said it was aware of several studies in a number of countries looking at the different environmental conditions in which COVID-19 could survive. Scientists are specifically looking at how humidity, temperature and ultraviolet lighting affect the disease and how long it lives on different surfaces, including steel.
“Take one look at what’s happening in some healthcare systems around the world. Look at the intensive care units completely overwhelmed. Doctors and nurses utterly exhausted,” WHO’s emergencies programme executive director Mike Ryan said on Friday. “This is not normal. This is not just a bad flu season.”
The virus is known to be transmitted through droplets, or little bits of liquid, mostly through sneezing or coughing.
At this point we take time off to record our deepest gratitude and appreciation to all healthcare service providers such as doctors, nurses, attendants and other allied staff and the personnel of the Army, Air Force, Navy and the Police, who are assisting them, for the selfless services they are continuing to provide despite the health risks entailed by them and their kith and kin. They have been working without any respite to curb this menace and eradicate it from our Motherland.
On our part let us cooperate with the government and the healthcare services to overcome this deadly crisis and get this country and by extension its people back on track.