The Effect of Covid-19 Likely Same In Sri Lanka As Globally Seen


Nilanka Jaysooriya
Nilanka Jaysooriya

*Nilanka Jaysooriya* from Colombo

Sri Lankans celebrate the Sinhala and Tamil New Year in the month of April.

Along With the dawn of April this year,  the seasonal chirping  of  the  infamous “Coha”’ was  heard  from almost anywhere in the island as usual  , which was a sign to reaffirm locals all across the island that the sinhala and tamil year was just around the corner.

Will the country   undergo another lock down like last time as the New Year approaches?”   

Despite the curiosity of some people , realizing that there was no significant  sign of the country heading towards another dreaded   lockdown, almost everyone was getting ready for the upcoming festival   without paying  much attention to any of the covid  guidelines  introduced by the Director of  health services .

With the dawn of April, the Pamunuwa area of ​​Maharagama, which is situated a   few   kilometers   away from Colombo city, was jam packed with   local crowds who had been waiting eagerly to buy new clothes for the new year without a care in the world about the covid 19 pandemic that was going on in the country .

pamunuwa has   long been a popular destination among the locals   for buying   garments at affordable   prices.

Meanwhile, those who foretold the possibility of a rapid increase of the covid19 virus among people  during the upcoming festive season, insisted that the country should be locked down  during the festive season, but unfortunately the attention of those responsible was not drawn to such  requests thus little or  no  precautionary actions were taken .

No matter how much the media tried it’s best to remind people to celebrate the Sinhala New Year with their loved ones in  a safe manner from their homes, and to  limit native  customs such as the exchange of sweets between households  etc. many  people  ignored to heed these warnings, it was like ‘playing music to deaf elephants’.

Around this time, many   people had forgotten about how deadly the Covid19 virus really   was . Thus, during the festive season, most of the people who  went  out on picnics/vacations ,  as well as those  who organized  Avurudu celebrations  along with the participation of enormous crowds  hadn’t yet  realized the  importance of  following  the necessary covid guidelines .

At this point in time, the situation of the country  was not looking so good  , even before the end of the  festive season.

Dozens of covid   infected individuals were reported from different parts of the country all at once, and  unsurprisingly the first few cases were reported from Pamunuwa . Hence in an attempt to stop the spread of the virus across srilanka, the town was isolated.

some villages were also suddenly locked down.

Will our country also be like a  Visala Mahanuwara?…………”

By the second week of May, strict travel restrictions had been imposed all across the country.

Although the health authority raised the need to the government  about imposing the necessary restrictions to the general  public to avoid the spread  of the covid outbreak during the Sinhala New Year season, unfortunately  it was too late , as the old saying goes ,”the stable was shut after the horse had bolted “.

Everyone’s eyes seemed to gradually open after the number of infected people all across the country  started to increase in an exponential manner following the new year season  . As a result  by the month of may hospitals were flooded with covid patients and emergency care units were at their maximum capacities.

“If the government had made the right decision at the right time, there wouldn’t have been such a devastation today.”  Some people made such statements   with frustration.

But It is also the responsibility of the public to adhere to the health guidelines in times of such crisis. But some people tend to point the finger directly  at the government ,making vague claims that the government should take full responsibility for the present situation .

Meanwhile, in view of the prevailing situation across the country, necessary restrictions for travel were imposed  throughout the country on the 14th of May which was supposedly,  on the festival day (Eid ) for  fellow  Muslims across the island.

As soon as the government announced to the public about the travel restrictions which were  going to be imposed, the upper-class people of the society   were too busy buying   groceries in bulk from supermarkets. Whereas those who lost their jobs due to covid , as well as those who found a source  of income  on a daily basis, faced a more daunting  challenge than ever ,have to put food on the table for their families whilst having no source of proper income………..

Only the stove in the kitchen   knows how we eat”. These were the sorrowful words uttered by a daily paid worker ,when asked about the current situation.

Due to the covid outbreak   nobody   had been willing to offer him  work.  This is the situation many daily paid/underpaid workers & the unemployed face across the country.

According to the WHO reports in Sri Lanka from 3rd January 2020 to 21st May 2021, there have been 154,786 confirmed cases of Covid 19, and 1089 Deaths, reported. As of 17th May 2021, a total number of 1,659,656 vaccine doses have been administrated to the public.

By May 22nd, 2909 new cases have sprung up, and so far, 1,566 deaths have been reported.

However, in the face of the prevailing situation, the authorities are trying to control the situation. With  the  immense  guidance from the  State Minister of  Health, Specialist  Dr. Sudarshani Fernandopulle’s , It is gratifying to note that her leadership is in a way hopeful.

Each citizen   is presented with the task of rising to the occasion and being more attentive   to the needs of the neighbors”    Mr.Monro Jayasuriya,CEO at LEADS, an NGO which works on issues related to the children  also expressed  his gratitude  on behalf of the organization  to all who joined hands with LEADS in supporting the needs at the  quarantine  center.

It can also be said that it is a matter of great pleasure for a country to have so many people come forward, even in this oppressive situation, to provide some relief   in the name of humanity for a better tomorrow.*


*Ms Nilanka Jaysooriya is a Senior Journalist, Author & Social Activist from Sri Lanka, worked for many leading newspapers of Sri Lanka living in Colombo. She has also worked for many leading NGOs of Sri Lanka.She holds degree of graduate of sociology & anthropology & Post Graduate Diploma in Criminology & also  degree holder of Transformational Development from University Of GULL.She is Currently associated with  LEADS Humanitarian Org, working for Child welfare & development  in Sri Lanka.






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