Public cooperation key to battling COVID-19

The Coronavirus pandemic has become a dangerous enemy to many countries. There are two ways to overcome this challenge. One is to find a medicine to destroy this enemy. That is unfortunately still a remote possibility. The second option to get rid of this epidemic from the country through good health practices. Again that is also has become a major challenge. Many countries have not experienced this type of a situation before. Even the countries that faced  the 1st and 2nd world wars have admitted that this is a difficult situation. Many countries could not see a bright future. The future looks hazy to many countries. Around 210 countries have been affected so far. Around 3.2 million people are affected around the world and 227,000 deaths have been reported. Around one million have recovered from the deadly disease as of 30th April 2020.  In Sri Lanka, the situation is different.

Around700 are affected. Eight deaths have been reported and the latest death occurred last night. There was a gap of nearly one month from the seventh death. More than 136 have recovered completely. There are four stages in this corona epidemic menace. The first stage is the foreigners who are in Sri Lanka getting affected. The second stage is that the virus being spread through those foreigners and potential careers. The 3rd stage is the spread through the locals and potential local careers.

 Although Sri Lanka is in the 3rd stage, the situation is well under control. The low death rate and the time duration since the last death show how Sri Lanka was disciplined and well prepared for the task. Even the positive cases, there are two varieties. The first is the asymptomatic positive cases. They do not show any symptoms. Therefore they cannot be considered as patients. They will be sent for Quarantine and if they develop some symptoms during that period then they will be sent for treatment. But the advantage in Sri Lanka is that the government was capable enough identify the pre stage positive cases early, which has saved many lives. Even the people who have weak immune systems have escaped from this tragedy due to this committed dedicated effort. The corporation of the general public is the key but there is room for further improvement.

In the meantime, Sri Lanka has not wasted time but was quick enough to introduce the agricultural mechanism with the sole objective of increasing local food production. The farmers and cultivators are well educated in this regard. Under the one million home garden project, suitable crops are selected according to climate and landscape varieties and promoted. The abandoned lands are also utilized. This is another major success. The amount of the funds raised from the COVID-19 social security fund also increased to Rs. 942 million rupees as of 30th April, which is another boost for the quick recovery of the economy. The economic revival process is underway with the necessary energy being put by experts. The challenge is well managed by intelligent and effective administration of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and the proper guidance of Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa.

At this stage there is no room for politics. Reconvening the dissolved Parliament is useless. The elements trying to push for reconvening Parliament have a different political agenda in mind. There are enough and necessary clauses available in the Constitution to raise funds to the run the Government. The opposition should help the Government to overcome this situation and appreciate the state officials for any good moves. The media should play a major role in this process to educate the public about the ground situation. At this difficult and trying time the cooperation of the general public is sorely needed.

(The writer is a senior journalist and can be reached at

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