Daily Mirror (Sri Lanka)

WHY ON EARTH DID WE DROP OUR GUARD?

- Sri Lanka · Parliament of India · Twitter · India · Minuwangoda

It seems we’re go­ing to have our kids stuck at home for some­time again. Schools are closed for an in­def­i­nite pe­riod again and lets hope that this wait at home would not be too long.

Alarm bells have been sounded by par­ents and tu­ition masters have had no op­tion, but to put up shut­ters at their in­sti­tutes for a while. On­line education will con­tinue, and so will fears of whether par­ents en­gaged in es­sen­tial ser­vices will be ex­posed to the virus. The rest of the fam­ily wouldn’t want to see the bread­win­ner bring­ing home the virus!

Just the other day the father of a school­boy, who at­tends a lead­ing school in Colombo, was di­ag­nosed with COVID-19. We re­ally don’t know the travel move­ments of this fam­ily, but ac­cord­ing to news­pa­per re­ports the fam­ily has fol­lowed the proper health guide­lines af­ter the male mem­ber of the fam­ily was tested pos­i­tive. In is­sues like these the big­gest dam­age to the fam­ily is caused by the so­cial me­dia.

All these de­vel­op­ments go on to sug­gest that we need to be more re­spon­si­ble. We need to be in this ‘pan­demic’ to­gether as one; as a fam­ily that doesn’t need to be told.

The prob­lem with Sri Lankans is that they need to be told. In a coun­try like Sri Lanka from the choco­late wrap­per to the used pa­per bag, these items eas­ily find their way on the road and not to a dust­bin.

Wear­ing masks when one has a cough or cold was never heard of by the ma­jor­ity of Sri Lankans. Wear­ing a face mask when suf­fer­ing from a res­pi­ra­tory ill­ness was never con­sid­ered as a re­spon­si­bil­ity by most Sri Lankans till the pan­demic sur­faced and taught us a valu­able les­son in health prac­tices.

Now they all wear masks out of fear of con­tract­ing the virus. This fear that drives us to be a healthy na­tion is bad. We must be driven to fol­low health guide­lines be­cause we have a sense of re­spon­si­bil­ity to­wards one an­other.

Some­times tak­ing pre­cau­tion­ary mea­sures in­vites trou­ble. Just the other day we heard that Mem­ber of Par­lia­ment Harin Fer­nando was sub­ject to a tirade by a Gov­ern­ment MP with re­gard to a Twit­ter post by the for­mer that he had sub­ject him­self to a PCR test. Gov­ern­ment MP Pre­malal Do­lawatte is said to have de­manded that Fer­nando un­der­goes a pe­riod of quar­an­tine be­cause the lat­ter sub­jected him­self to a PCR test and such a fol­low-up pro­ce­dure is the norm.

We’ve read so much in news­pa­pers where some pa­tients re­ceiv­ing treat­ment have es­caped from wards in gov­ern­ment hos­pi­tals. One report stated that such a per­son, a drug ad­dict, was later found. But the is­sue here is to check his travel move­ments while ab­scond­ing; be­cause he may have cre­ated a clus­ter!

The lat­est bomb­shell was dropped from a gar­ment fac­tory in Minuwangod­a. It is re­ported that a group of work­ers from In­dia had been bought to work at this gar­ment fac­tory, but what’s spec­u­lated was that the work­ers didn’t ad­here to proper quar­an­tine pro­ce­dures. Two vi­tal ques­tions raised in this re­gard were; whether the au­thor­i­ties at the gar­ment fac­tory quar­an­tined these work­ers at their cor­po­rate pri­vate fa­cil­ity and whether the work­ers with COVID-19 symp­toms were asked to report to work?

The com­pany re­sponded to al­le­ga­tions through a state­ment which said that all the work­ers brought down are of Sri Lankan ori­gin and that they had fol­lowed the gov­ern­ment man­dated quar­an­tine pe­riod of 28 days. But the net re­sult was that over a 1000 work­ers from this fac­tory in Minuwangod­a tested pos­i­tive for COVID-19.

Sri Lanka as a na­tion did well to keep the pan­demic at bay. The is­land had one of the low­est death rates associated with COVID-19. The se­cu­rity forces and the health sec­tor did strict mon­i­tor­ing and Sri Lanka was con­sid­ered one of the safest na­tions in the con­text of ‘man­ag­ing COVID-19’. Why on earth did we drop our guard?

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