The need to keep others at arm’s length

It is obvious that change is the only phenomenon that remains unchanged in this impermanent world. Obviously, hope against hope, everyone fervently expected that the new year, 2020 would blossom as an epoch of peace and prosperity, despite the conflicts and wars in several parts of the world, including the Middle East. Unfortunately, the eve of 2020 dropped a different bombshell, as the WHO cautiously announced, on the night of 31st December, 2019, that the outbreak of the deadly infection, the corona, that is formally known as Novel Covid-19, in the far off Wuhan province, of the newest economic giant, China; where at a seafood and poultry market this deadly virus invisibly infiltrated some of its customers. It is alleged that the flesh of the wild creatures, such as bats, cats, rats, snakes and so on, was the source of this lethal virus. Therefore, it is high time that eating such ‘delicacy’ should be stopped forthwith, to save the human beings, as well as animals, including the wild beasts and weird creatures. Then, with the mission of devastation and destruction, this deadly crud, started its rapid journey around the world. Today, many developed countries and superpowers are brought to their knees as nearly the whole world is under lockdown.

Sadly, there are over 10,000 untimely deaths and nearly one million people are adversely affected due to this tiny but harmful virus. Around 200 nations face this threat and take immediate action to put an end to this deadly disaster in their respective countries. Sri Lanka is not an exception as over 170 sufferers of this disease are being treated in the government hospitals of various parts of the country. By now, five innocent lives are cruelly snatched away. Is there a rapid cure for this noxious pandemic? ‘Cleanliness is next to godliness’. This axiom clearly reminds us all to be clean and spick and span round the clock to be perfectly healthy.

 ‘Corona, corona, how can my family and I safely escape from this merciless microbe!’ This is the thought that has been looming and haunting everyone’s mind. How can we, Sri Lankans, and for that matter, people domiciled across the world, be securely away from this menace? It is simply and strictly abiding by all the guidelines that are given by the WHO and our local health authorities to the letter. Our Government, under the able leadership of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, has taken the right steps to wipe away this health hazard. The Health authorities, the Armed Forces, the Police, and other organizations that are connected to the welfare of the citizens of this nation, have gone out of their way to treat all the patients devotedly and look after the masses, providing the basic needs and services. Would this dedication of the Government and other organizations alone ensure the elimination of this virus from this blessed land? What are the essential duties and contributions of all Sri Lankans to get rid of this wicked virus while ensuring the survival and safely of the whole nation?

There are a few essential steps that will drastically control and combat corona. The first is to remain in quarantine, or in self isolation. Everyone is aware of the importance of it as this virus is contagious. Let’s strictly stay under quarantine. But most Sri Lankans are forgetful and careless and simply tend to ignore the action of quarantine. There can be various reasons to defend our inaction. Will it help us come out of danger? Don’t forget that social distance is the need of the hour. Indeed, keeping yourself at an arm’s length, physically, at this crucial juncture, helps not only yourself to be healthy but also all others. So, you are essentially required to keep a distance of at least two metres. There can be your kith and kin or unexpected visitors who want to be close to you to discuss some important matters or gossip at this dangerous time. Don’t foolishly give in exposing yourself and the visitor/s to danger. If you ignore this guideline it can be your last chat as corona has not an iota of sympathy for anyone. It is a known fact that this deadly virus spreads through cough, sneeze, droplet of saliva and physical touch. Even when a person touches a contaminated surface, such as a chair, a doorknob, a gate, a mobile phone, a wall, etc., she/he can easily get infected. Therefore, apply the word untouchable to the letter, but can touching always be stopped? There is a solution to get over this difficulty. You need to use the sanitizer and wear the gloves and the face mask. You cannot be lazy to avoid putting on this face cover and using the sanitizer or using the gloves to keep your whole body clean. The gloves are mandatory as they protect your hands that normally have the tendency to touch the different parts of the face, thus giving the corona an opportunity to infiltrate into your body. Then, make it a point to wear a costume that covers all parts of your body. Hence, it is apparent, these vital steps help in no small way to drastically control and combat this menace. One more important step that helps us to be away from this germ is to wash our hands thoroughly. Some of us take it for granted thinking that washing the hands is just a ritual or a habit. The tiny enemy is at your hand. This time we are required to wash our hands with soap. As hands can easily reach the face, the risk of getting the corona virus into the user’s body is not a myth but a bitter reality. That is why the Global Handwashing Day was proclaimed by UNICEF last October. So, 15th October of every year is dedicated to this day to stress the importance of it. Parents, elders, teachers and others should teach the children, and the tiny tots, to wash their hands properly. My dear fellow Sri Lankans, corona has no mercy for any age, community, race, religion or any other differences. Therefore, as the children of Mother Sri Lanka, let us maintain the guidelines of the Ministry of Health. It is high time every Tom, Dick and Harry follow the rules and support the genuine efforts of the Sri Lankan Government to eradicate this toxic poison whose venom inflicts death and devastation.

Today, a number of cities, townships and villages, of certain parts of Sri Lanka, are completely sealed off. The Government, with the help of the relevant organizations, the Armed Forces and the Police, look after them responsibly. But there can be a few shortcomings as this is the new experience for this beloved land. Especially, some of the elderly are not in a position to get their regular drugs, as the focus is the elimination of corona. The Government can immediately send the mobile pharmacies to the areas that are under lockdown. Private pharmacies too can be given permission to help the sick get their drugs. Then, there can be very remote areas, in the locked down locations, where people urgently need the basic things, such as food, water, etc. Their needs should also be fulfilled without delay. Finally, the Government should select the leaders of the particular villages, streets and townships so that they can inform the officials of the shortcomings they encounter due to the curfew and lockdown. The principals, teachers, persons holding JP titles and social activists, and important members of the clergy, can be immediately selected for this task. Politics should not be a yardstick for such selection. They should be allowed to be in touch with the GAs, OIC of the nearest police stations, Health Inspectors and other relevant Government Officials. I am quite sure the Presidential Task Force, under the leadership of former Minister, the energetic Basil Rajapaksa, will rise to the occasion to put Sri Lanka back on track to ensure normalcy, peace and prosperity. Let us strive hard and lend our helping hand to the Government at this crucial hour to get this nation out of this unwanted trouble.


  Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

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