Isn’t Sri Lanka still a developing country? Does Sri Lanka have the required health privileges and technology to fight back Covid-19?
You might have a thousand questions on why Sri Lanka has suddenly become important amid this pandemic. But let me reassure you that Sri Lanka was always relevant, however everybody has expected the dominating countries were the solution for everything.
So, how exactly is Sri Lanka building the resistance? Here’s the proof.
How it all started in Sri Lanka?
Covid-19 or the novel coronavirus started taking people’s lives one by one in the beginning of 2020. Although the pandemic originated in China, now the death toll worldwide has risen into 308,645 (May 16, 2020).
The Quarantine Unit at Bandaranaike International Airport was instructed to be aware and properly check the virus carriers by the Ministry of Health Sri Lanka.
This was started even before 27th of January.
Sri Lankan Health Ministry instructed people especially including pregnant women, infants, kids, people with chronic diseases and elder people to practice social distancing.
Also, the government restricted the Chinese employees to their workplaces to avoid the spread of the virus.
Although the whole world was panicking, it all started in Sri Lanka when the authorities found a 43-year-old Chinese tourist. She was infected with the virus and known to have travelled all around the island.
Sri Lanka vs Public health
Sri Lanka was identified as one of the most vulnerable countries against Covid-19. There is some truth to that.
In fact, On 16th of April 2020, Sri Lanka has entered the list of countries which are at high risk in front of the virus pandemic. SL ranked 16th place.
Sri Lanka is not at the top for its sanitation. On top of that, the health sector doesn’t have a lot of facilities because the country is still in its developing stage.
The next main reason for this high risk is, Sri Lanka’s public transportation system is not like other developed countries.
Unlike rich countries such as Singapore, Sri Lanka has very poor conditioned public transportation and hygiene related to it.
The other unfortunate problem is, people are not generally well mannered.
For example, public transportation systems are destroyed by misuse. Most of the places are covered in red spit that came from chewing Betel leaf with Areca nuts.
For some Sri Lankans sanitizers and paper serviettes came to limelight just after the coronavirus pandemic.
This is not just a Sri Lankan issue, but why on earth the authorities and the health ministries have to constantly remind you to cover your nose and mouth whenever you cough or sneeze?
People don’t even know that?
Yet, humans are known to be the most intelligent among all the other species on the earth.
Do we need a reality check?
Sri Lanka’s situation compared to other countries
According to popular belief the United States is the most dominant country in the whole wide world in every aspect.
But, looking at their Covid-19 death toll, which is (88,199) it is a big IF now!
In April 2020 an anti-lockdown movement was started by the Americans protesting the lockdown.
Many people in places such as Florida and California have come out of their residencies to protest.
According to Nine News Australia, these thousands of protesters didn’t even have masks on. Most of them are begging to go to work. Some women say that they need to go to the hairdressers.
People claim that Covid-19 is a total lie, and they need to be liberated as they are not prisoners.
The most ridiculous news is that Michigan has the 4th highest Covid-19 cases in the country. United States President Donald Trump supports these protests and in fact has shared his thoughts on liberating Michigan. He further says that the people are reasonable.
Although Covid-19 can be carried through the bodies of humans unknowingly infecting others in the process, the people or the authorities don’t seem to care.
The United Kingdom’s total deaths are now at 33,998. (May 16, 2020)
People have reported on many occasions that authorities don’t care about the infected. The only advice they have given is to be self-quarantined and take care of themselves.
But it is clear the government is doing their best to prevent the pandemic.
NHS (National Health Service) in England has decided to pause the investigations of all new and existing Covid-19 complaints.
According to them, this decision further helps the clinical staff to give proper care for the people who are already admitted. Their decision is great for some extent because these people who are in critical situations need to be properly looked after. However, it seems like the other people are expendable.
Sri Lanka on the other hand, doesn’t even have the resources or money to protect people. However, after the first chinese patient was found, she was admitted to IDH. (Infectious Diseases Hospital)
The chinese patient was fully recovered with the sole support of the free healthcare system and an expert crew of doctors and nurses etc. and returned to her homeland on February 19th, 2020.
The government took immediate measures to self-confine people around the country by imposing an island wide curfew.
Both the government and the private sector employees were instructed to stay at home and continue their work.
The only drawback of this is, unlike the United Kingdom people cannot be paid 80% of their remuneration in SL if the pandemic stays for longer.
The recent situation is Sri Lanka is actually very good and the overall death toll in the country is still at 7 so far.
Furthermore, Sri Lanka has been named as the 9th best country which successfully executed an immediate and effective response on preventing the virus.
Why is Sri Lanka better?
Sri Lanka is a Tropical Country
The Covid-19 outbreak horrified the whole world first emerging in China. The incident happened in the middle of December 2019. Without a doubt, it spread so fast around the world.
This speculated the thought of the cooler weather can be a support to the virus to be sustained.
Paul Charles, the Chief Executive of PC Agency who is one of the travel experts in the UK stated that he would be going somewhere with warmer weather. He further had suggested that Sri Lanka is a safe destination for everybody who seeks a safe getaway from the pandemic.
Although there is no evidence to prove that Covid-19 cannot stay that much longer in warmer weather, it is an intriguing theory.
Maybe, this is another reason why Sri Lanka has managed to maintain its death toll at a low rate.
Sri Lanka is an Island
I’m surprised that you haven’t heard that Sri Lanka is an island nation. (Haha)
Well, all jokes aside, an Island can be the best place on earth to hide from a pandemic.
Think about it, after the government had completely stopped the arrivals and departures in the airports, there is no way a mishap can occur.
Simply because there is no way to enter. The only way the virus got into the country was via the people who previously arrived from other countries.
The exceptional instance to prove this is Greenland. It is the world’s largest island nation.
The other finest example is Madagascar. It is the 2nd largest island in the world.
They both have a Covid-19 death rate still at 0.
Sri Lanka’s generous star hotels
If you have ever visited Sri Lanka, you couldn’t have missed a free meal or a drink somewhere by the side of the road.
This is even better in the months of buddhist religious importance. It is no secret that Sri Lanka oozes generosity and hospitality.
According to the WGI or the World Giving Index, Sri Lanka made it to the 5th place in the list of most charitable countries in the world.
Hirimbura Chandra Lal Abeygunawardena who is a businessman from Galle has offered his 30-room hotel in Unawatuna and another hotel in Thalgampola for Covid-19 patients.
Five-star Citrus Waskaduwa by Citrus Leisure PLC has offered the premises to be used by the
National Operations Center as a quarantine center.
Four-star Trinco Blu by Cinnamon owned by Conglomerate John Keells Holdings PLC (JKH) was offered to be used as a quarantine center as well if there is a larger need. They also stated that they are willing to offer the other Cinnamon properties in the country if the need arises.
Moreover, Four-star Club Hotel Dolphin which is located in Negombo owned by Hemas Holdings PLC offered their large premises. It is only 20 km away from the Bandaranaike International Airport which is a plus point.
The funds for the Covid-19 Healthcare and Social Security is now over Rs. 242 million. Sri Lankan president Gotabaya Rajapaksa initiated the fund on March 23rd.
People’s Bank Pensioners Association, People’s Leasing, Litro Gas Lanka Limited, Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation and Bank of Ceylon, The National Savings Bank and Akbar Brothers Pvt Ltd have contributed so far to reach this amount.
Other people are also allowed to donate for this fund as well.
Public Health care system
Most of the time, locals have been complaining about numerous incidents in the past years when the Sri Lankan health care system neglects essential needs of the people. However, Covid-19 has proven that Sri Lankan hospitals, doctors and other employees are working their socks off to prevent the current situation.
The most fascinating thing is, from rich to poor there is no discrimination for treating Covid-19 patients.
The employees put the country on top without even caring for their own families.
From the overall 310 confirmed cases, 102 patients are fully recovered so far.
Sri Lanka is tiny
Sri Lanka is a tiny island. Anyone can reach from one side to another side of the country under a day by a standard car.
By (2012) Sri Lanka’s population is at 20,277,597.
This can be considered as a lucky break for Sri Lanka, since it is easier to manage people especially in a critical situation like this.
Sri Lankan army is very supportive
The Sri Lankan army has a great reputation for helping people and putting their lives on the line for them despite their nationality.
It is obvious that they serve day and night to prevent the virus from spreading further in the country.
The quarantine zones are mainly taken care of by the military. Even people who have been in and recovered at those quarantine centers have said in social media that they never even had homesickness. Their hospitality is that much exceptional.
The army has provided the patients with special toiletries, sanitary items, outfits, meals and Wi-Fi free of charge during the period of treatments.
The police and the government are responsible
Sri Lanka might be the only country where people are chased down and dragged into medical care.
We have previously witnessed that many other countries don’t even care about the patients who are stuck inside their homes.
However, Sri Lankan police always try to prevent the pandemic spread further by finding infected people around the country with much effort.
The government on the other hand didn’t even have time to prove its full potential. Because, if memory serves, Sri Lanka hadn’t even been recovered from the last year Easter attacks.
But the government suddenly had to react to the new threat befell upon the country.
No government is unblemished, but this government did respond to the critical situation better than everybody has anticipated.
There is no doubt that Sri Lanka is handling the Covid-19 situation very well. However, Sri Lanka isn’t a country which can perform miracles.
If the public doesn’t take the required measures to prevent the virus from spreading, Sri Lanka won’t be any different than the USA in a couple of months.
The main obstruction is the awareness of the public. Most of the people understand that Covid-19 is a fatal virus.
But, still the minority don’t believe in social distancing.
The minute the government instructs to lift the imposed curfew, people start to wander around the city buying supplies.
The groceries, toiletries and other household items with vegetables and fruits are delivered to the customers’ doorsteps.
But it is mostly available in the Colombo area. It is understandable that some people don’t have this opportunity, but they should think about their own families and children before going out.
The bottom line is, even if the situation is being controlled successfully in the country, it is crucial for each and every citizen to be responsible to overcome this pandemic.