My last post was just prior to the Presidential elections “The Devil is at the gate” I said.
Well, I did not vote for the President whom the masses finally favoured, but truth be told, at this particular point in time, I am beginning to think that there is much to say for autocracy and dictator-style governments.
It is early days yet, but the very qualities and policies that I decried – firm, ruthless military style rule, curtailment of personal freedom, suppression of dissent- seem to be effective weapons in containing the Covid 19 virus.
Measures taken when the first local case was confirmed on 11th March:
- The Chief of Defence /Commander of the Army is put in charge of Covid 19 Task Force.
- All flight arrivals stopped except for special flights bringing back citizens from China, South Korea and Italy.
- Three days public and bank holidays declared in the first week. We used the time to prepare. There was no run on supermarkets, no fights for toiletries or food though some did overstock on essential items.
- Holidays immediately followed by island wide curfew: 3 days in rural areas and 4 days in Metropolitan and bigger districts.
- Thereafter 6 hour window was given – for purchasing goods, banking etc
- Unfortunately, the 6 hour window resulted in massive crowds pouring into stores and market places. BAD MOVE.
- Infected case count rose.
- Metropolitan areas where cases were highest declared high risk and put under indefinite curfew.
- People breaking curfew are arrested and vehicles seized.
- And finally – any area where an infection is discovered is IMMEDIATELY encircled by military personnel – almost like a high risk military zone. The Military moves in. The police join. The medics arrive and the Public Health Inspectors do house to house testing.
Watching on TV you are left in absolutely no doubt that war has been declared. The man who was in charge of Defence when we ended the 30 year civil war and is now in charge of the country is determined to win this war too. With military precision, ‘Intelligence’ is immediately gathered on all with whom a confirmed case has come into contact and they are sent to one of the many quarantine centers or home quarantined under supervision.
Of course there were a few blips at the beginning. A kind of late start.
Inter-school cricket matches which draw thousands of alumni from all over the world went ahead without cancellation. Nobody dared to stop tradition and nobody wanted to stay home and be safe – ie the men … or should I say “boys” cause this is something I can never understand. They coordinate family events and trips to Sri Lanka around the BIG MATCH – ie the game between two traditional rivals. One such game has a tradition of 141 years and was played even during World War. Covid War had not yet started. The game went on despite a few protests.
And then the inevitable. One spectator was found to be Covid 19 positive 😱. The blame game started. The horse had bolted. Could he be reined in?
Search launched to identify and isolate all those in the pavilion the patient had been in. News channels kept requesting all who would have been exposed to self quarantine. This was just before the curfew.
We arranged special flights to bring back students and citizens from epi-centers South Korea and Italy. Around 1500 from these flights who came in before 15 March went back into their communities un- checked and un-tested and became the main source for the spread.
Again, major search operation and public notices identifying those arrivals and requesting them to report to the nearest police station for quarantine.
All international arrivals up to 15th March requested to notify there location to nearest police station. All arrivals after that date are taken to one of the many quarantine centres established throughout the country. 2 weeks quarantine in semi luxury entirely at government expense.
Credit has to go where credit is due.. Government seems to be in control of the situation – fingers crossed and prayers winging heavenward🙏🙏 – and Sri Lanka may even end up being the exemplar for the crisis.
I am locked in, but like many others in high risk zones have reason to count blessings of special arrangements made:
- The nearby Supermarkets are delivering packs of essentials at greatly discounted prices.
- The truck with coconuts – an essential ingredient in our cuisine -came by and our purchases were rolled into our garden. Social distancing🤗
- Another truck brought cooking gas refills.
- The bread van with his all too familiar ring tone alerts us he is on his daily rounds
- Water dispenser refills delivered as usual..
- Vegetable vendor came by but he did not have much. We got a few more onions and potatoes. Others come by under special permission but we restrict contact.
- Thankfully a friend in the business sent a very generous gift pack of fresh veggies.
- Mobile banking came to our doorstep though I missed it.
The situation for us is totally well managed.
I realise this is not the situation throughout the country. Solutions have still to be found for distribution in rural and far flung areas. Until then farmers are suffering heavy losses. The poor and daily paid are unable to purchase rations to stock up for the long haul. The allowances the government has granted will take a few more days to trickle down. Quite a few more blips to be cleared but for now the curve is rather flat.
And unlike the rest of the world, Sri Lanka already had a dedicated infections diseases hospital IDH so all Covid 19 positive patients are sent there. Of the 150 cases so far 27 have recovered and been sent home. We have unfortunately had 4 deaths but these were patients with other complications as well.
And so, despite the blips, despite the crisis and despite the concerns we have reason to be thankful – friends giving vegetables … vendors making home deliveries. Streets quiet. No blaring horns. Life has truly slowed down.
Mother earth is smiling thankful too. Look at the logic: One delivery truck circulating in the area saves so many hundreds driving to the super to pick up their basics. It’s different from on line deliveries and Uber eats. This is ole’ time living. Less gasoline, less fumes, less pollution, more time.
Maybe when this is all over we should go back to this way of life- but without the military shadow ….
It would be interesting to hear about your own experiences in lock down or social distancing …. what measure would you prefer to keep you safe?
I can’t help but feel glad that the ‘devil at the gate was let in. I have to admit that I doubt anyone else would have contained this with quite the success he has.
So … Kudos to you Mr. President.
Ps Getting used to the new WordPress format. Will.post some pics when I get used to the change.
Truth be told, I have been very un-civic minded, totally unconcerned about the forthcoming Presidential elections. Did not want to waste my time.
The UNP that I have traditionally backed has failed to deliver. They have failed to deliver justice for crimes of previous regime as promised and have created their own. Ranil is intent on hanging onto power with no compunction whatsoever.
The incumbent President is intent on making the most of his position. He cannot decide which camp he falls into, or which horse to place his fortunes on. Although elected with much hope, he has turned out to be devious and scheming. We realise now that he showed his true colours in ousting/betraying the President of his own party.
Rajapaksha himself is always tainted by scandals whilst in and out of office but continues blithely in his own bubble. Appointed PM in a questionable action Continue reading
I used to be careless and carefree … but now – I don’t know whether it is due to age or the weather or even a condition of blood pressure – as my younger sister who aspires to be a home doctor claims – I find myself getting all serious on things that I did not bother about before. ‘Over thinking it‘ in the jargon of my nieces.
Thus I was happily surprised when I came across this article in Aleteia mentioning the prayer by St. Thomas Moore which Pope Francis has been reciting daily for 40 years!! It is surely a secret to his cheerfulness … and so I gladly share for any of my cranky friends out there. 😍
Extract from Aleteia article …
In a book-interview “God is Young,” the Holy Father reveals the prayer he’s been reciting for 40 years to not be taken too seriously and maintain a touch of humor.
“Grant me, O Lord, good digestion, and also something to digest.
Grant me a healthy body, and the necessary good humor to maintain it.
Grant me a simple soul that knows to treasure all that is good
and that doesn’t frighten easily at the sight of evil,
but rather finds the means to put things back in their place.
Give me a soul that knows not boredom, grumblings, sighs and laments,
nor excess of stress, because of that obstructing thing called “I.”
Grant me, O Lord, a sense of good humor.
Allow me the grace to be able to take a joke to discover in life a bit of joy,
and to be able to share it with others.”
St. Thomas More (1478-1535).
It reminds me of the words of Chesterton
which I had also quoted in a previous post Angels with only one wing along with other advice to myself .. which I have not quite taken heed of. Or have I ??
Aww … what the heck… life is too short to wonder whether I have or not. 😘 😘
in her own words … 😍
Writer, poet, civil rights activist …she was indeed an intelligent, courageous and loving woman who taught us by ‘being’ who she was without fear or apology.
We write for the same reason that we walk, talk, climb mountains or swim the oceans – because we can. We have some impulse within us that makes us want to explain ourselves to other human beings. That’s why we paint, that’s why we dare to love someone – because we have the impulse to explain who we are.
Edward and Ranil have much in common. Both are bachelors.
Both visited us last week. Edward – a Christian came on the 24th before going to his village for the holidays. He is not married, has no immediate family and no fixed dwelling. He stays wherever he is offered a bed ‘free’ or at low cost.
Ranil – a Buddhist – visited after Christmas. He lives nearby with his mother and brother. Continue reading
Quote : ….. from The Years Between, William Barclay, on the Gospel of Mathew and the life of Jesus before His public ministry.
Picture : My footprints taken at Panama, Arugam Bay
A strange question indeed. It is not the same as asking “Who am I?” for which an answer can be readily given. This one is more complex . So see if you can answer the following without any hesitation 🙂 … or whether you agree with the answers.
“Am I my thoughts, the thoughts that I am thinking? No. Thoughts come and go; I am not my thoughts.
Am I my body? They tell us that millions of cells in our body are changing or are Continue reading
Yet some people will never have one
invaded by a super power
they are only issued a flimsy piece of paper
that cannot be used for travel
Exiled from their homelands
their invaders ensure that nobody recognises them
unless they acquiesce to their demands!
Can you even begin to imagine life without yours?
and to the plight also of citizens from troubled lands – and developing countries like ours – who are always viewed with suspicion.
Others may have a passport from a troubled country
Suspicion aroused wherever they go
checked too often and regarded with fear
and continues with a clarion call
“Only global citizenship will allow free travel!
So no more flag and no more borders!
Recognise that there is only one human race
with many different tribes …”
echoing words spoken by my father so many many years ago to which alas I paid no heed, blind to his dream of no flags, no borders …. and there definitely can be no walls if we ‘‘open to each other with warm embrace? ” Is this not the Kingdom of God on earth that our Saviour spoke of?
Let us resolve to actively live, and work and pray for that day, when the dream of One World, One Love, One Heart is realised. A Video of another enlightened human – Bob Marley singing prophetically ‘One Love’ attached for listening pleasure and inspiration.