There is an indication that the war against the COVID-19 is almost over, but there is still some more to be done for the final victory to be achieved. The cause of the victory was undoubtedly the magnetic personality of President, Gotabaya Rajapaksa. He himself steered the ship of state, aided by the resounding success achieved in the presidential election. It enabled him to handle the situation with incredible firmness and confidence.
Another factor was the moral support given by Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa. In my opinion, he must have sensed that the decision to impose a curfew would have been misconstrued as a unilateral decision of his. But he was quick to go on air and disclose the fact that the decision to enforce a curfew was imposed on medical advice given by a team of specialists and not a unilateral decision of his own.
"New Year, May Day and Vesak celebrations were held indoors to support the Govt’s initiative to control the spread of deadly coronavirus"
This, in my opinion, led to an unquestioned acceptance of the curfew, especially when it was for the benefit of the public.
Unlike in the most advanced economies, it was not hard for them to cooperate. What with all the curfews imposed by politicians in the past! The practice was given by Sirimavo Bandaranaike, when she imposed a curfew the against the Satyagraha campaign by the federal party in 1961. The South was given a curfew practice by the same politician when she clamped down a curfew on the first JVP insurrection in April 1971. Many more practices were conducted by the governments that followed. So the public was used to curfew discipline and this was one of the reasons for the success of the corona war.
"Curfew was imposed on medical advice given by a team of specialists and not a unilateral decision of his own"
Not the least among the causes was the striking fact of unstinting support given by the medical profession. Under the Yahapalana government, they would strike at the drop of a hat! This time what struck me most was that our doctors suddenly remembered their Hippocratic Oath and decided to support the health department to treat the corona patients. Accolades should also be given to the nursing staff and all those under the purview of the health department for their willingness to take the risk and serve the public.
"Doctors and medical staff are working tirelessly to treat the COVID-19 patients and saw many patients had left hospitals completely recovered"
It was William Shakespeare who said ‘sweet are the uses of adversity’. The whole nation has been taught a lesson in thrift and frugality, whether they were aware of it or not. I have noticed in the past that the people went wild with celebrations during the New Year. In this instance, I commend the exhortation that went on the air asking the public to enjoy the New Year and Vesak traditions at home. This was a very convincing exhortation and I must say that I heard only two crackers being lit this season. This avoided unnecessary expenditure.
The smallness of the nation, and the very high literacy rate of the public were other contrivances favouring a speedy recovery. The public would have learnt that self-control in every aspect is the key to success in a calamity like this.