What is Sri Lanka doing to curtail coronavirus
Coronavirus disease or the covid-19 is and infectious disease which was originated from Wuhan, China. The corona virus disease has been already spread to almost all the parts of the world including North America, South America, Europe, Africa, Australia and Asia. At the moment, Sri Lanka has controlled spreading of coronavirus successfully and everyone wants to know what Sri Lanka is doing to curtail coronavirus.
First Positive Covid-19 case
As a result of spreading virus all around the world, one Sri Lankan returned from Wuhan and two Chinese tourists with the symptoms and sign of respiratory illness. They were admitted to the National Institute of Infectious Dieses (IDH) in Angoda, Sri Lanka on 24th and 25th of January 2020. One Chinese lady was tested positive for covid-19. But coronavirus was not spread due to this positive case luckily.
What Sri Lankan did at the beginning?
As covid-19 can be transmitted from one individual to others Sri Lankan government took all the necessary actions as earliest in January to prevent the possibility of introducing the disease in to country. They are,
- Travelers arriving the country were advised on board to report to the health desk at Bandaranayake International Airport (BIA) if they having symptoms of suggestive of the disease.
- The health desk at the airport is in operative round the clock.
- Thermal scanners are installed in the airport to identify whether travelers have running temperature.
- General public were advised to avoid crowded places and avoid close contact with anyone is having fever and cough.
- General public were also advised to clean hands with soap and water frequently.
In February, Sri Lankan government implemented a following up system for the Sri Lankan nationals and other foreign nationals come to Sri Lanka from high risk areas for corona virus. So the foreigners and Sri Lankans who came from China and Korea were followed up for the health status by public health officers (PHI) up till 14 days.
These are things Sri Lanka did to curtail corona virus at the beginning.
The First local corona virus positive case
The first locally transmitted covid-19 case in Sri Lanka was reported on 11th of March 2020. The individual is a tour guide to the travelers from Italy. He was transferred to IDH and his family were kept under quarantine for 14 days. After that government started searching for his close contacts and they were also kept under quarantine. The schools and universities were closed to control spreading the virus.
After that, the government asked all the individuals travelled from or through Italy, South Korea, China and Iran to undergo a mandatory 14 days quarantine. Sri Lankan airlines which is the national carrier of Sri Lanka has suspended flights to China and Jeddah. The authorities banned cruise ship passengers from disembarking in Sri Lanka from March until further notice.
Sri Lanka moved to lock down to curtail corona virus
On 20th of March, The country moved in to police managed complete lockdown with severe restrictions on civilian movement and zero tolerance of social gatherings because several local patients were tested positive for covid-19 after 14th of March. This was most important decision took by Sri Lankan government to curtail corona virus.
During lockdown period, people who work for essential services like hospitals, police and military were only allowed to go out for work wearing uniforms within the working hours. The government also adopted strict measures including temporary suspension of inbound flights, on arrival visas and registration.
Lifestyle in Sri Lanka during lock down period: How people helped to curtail corona virus
It was difficult for everyone to stay at home for a long time but even people in Sri Lankan understood the importance of the lock down. In other countries, people were allowed to go out to groceries for their needs during lock down. But Sri Lankan curfew kept everyone at home and the government encouraged supermarket owners and even small grocery owners to deliver almost everything to the door step of their customers. Due to this situation, some people even started their new small businesses like delivering fresh vegetables, fruits, fish to customers.
During this lock down period the low income citizens like daily wage earners, families living in plantation, women householders were given emergency food relief and other basic support measures by the government. Also they got a grant of Rs.5000.
What Sri Lanka did during festivals (April and May) to curtail corona virus
April is usually an eventful month for Sri Lankan because Sinhala and Tamil new year festival is on 14th of April. This festival is celebrated with a lot of social gatherings, outdoor games, sweets and fireworks. But this year there were no such things due to curfew. People had to celebrate new year at home only with family members. People were asked to use telephone and social media to stay connected with the relations and friends during this hard time.
In May, People celebrated Vesak festival which is the biggest event for the Buddhists. Normally people decorate houses and roads with Vesak lanterns and Buddhist flags, stall serving free food and drinks. But due to lockdown people had to do prayers at home.
The biggest repatriation mission
During lockdown period, as per the request by the Sri Lankans stranded around the world due to covid-19 the government has started the biggest repatriation mission in end of April. All the Sri Lankans come from other countries have to undergo 14 days mandatory quarantine at the government controlled free quarantine centers or five star hotels if they wish to bear the cost. They were tested for covid-19 using PCR tests at the airport. If someone gets positive that person will be sent to IDH hospital. Others are sent to the quarantine centers. All these government controlled quarantine centers were maintained by Sri Lankan Army, Navy and Air force.
Before sending them home, they are tested again for covid-19 using PCR tests. Only the people who are tested negative can go home. After successful completion of the 14 days quarantine and 2 PCR tests they are allowed to go home but they have to stay home for another 14 days for the safe side under the supervision of the public health inspectors.
This process is also a good answer for the question “What is Sri Lanka doing to curtail corona virus”
Identify close contacts to positive cases
During lockdown period, the authorities managed to identify all the close contacts of the positive cases with the help of the police intelligence unit. The close contacts were tested for covid-19 using PCR tests. Random PCR tests were carried out in the areas where covid-19 positive cases found. The government asked the authorities to do these things until they cannot find a positive case in the society.
Ease the lock down in Sri Lanka
After all this hard work from everyone, there has been no covid-19 positive case found from society. So the government decided to ease the curfew and restore the lifestyle of the people to normal with a lot of restrictions. You can see some of them below.
- It is mandatory to wear face mask when going out from home.
- Everyone has to maintain 1m distance from each other.
- Body temperature should be checked before entering a crowded places like supermarkets, shops, government offices etc.
- Maximum number of people to attend weddings and funerals are limited to 100.
If somehow a covid-19 positive person comes to society it will prevent spreading because of these restrictions. In July, the government decided to open schools and universities again. The following steps have been taken at schools to prevent the spread of the virus.
- Only some selected grades were allowed to go to schools every day at the first stage. Other students went to school once a week. They continued their studies online like they did during the quarantine. (All the students are asked to go to school as usual from August.)
- Classrooms were arranged maintaining 1metre distance.
- Classrooms are sanitized every morning by parents before students come to school.
- Teachers check body temperature as students enter the school every morning.
- Provisions were made to wash hands when entering school.
- Students are asked to bring food and water from home and the school canteen is closed temporarily.
Now people live in Sri Lanka are happy, thanks to the Sri Lankan government, health organizations, police and forces but still under restrictions. I hope that you got an idea about what is Sri Lanka doing to curtail coronavirus.