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Failure to Manage COVID 19: Who is Responsible?

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By Prof. Sunil Wimalawansa

There had been a major hiatus of “systems thinking,” relevant expertise, and leadership, of managing COVID-19 in Sri Lanka that continues to date. These not only led to economic collapse, but also to miss the ongoing community spread during the past few months and the current upsurge of uncontrolled, second wave of COVID-19 started in mid-August 2020. The entire country (24 out of 25 districts) has been affected with multiple community clusters, except in Kilinochchi district.

Brandix event that started in Minuwangoda was just one of many recent clusters, of the ongoing community spread of COVID-19, which the Health Department failed to diagnose. The latter was in part due to using weak and disjointed strategies, the reliance of military-style wasteful curfews, arrogantly refusing to conduct PCR testing in the community (until very recently), inhumane quarantining, and failure to consult Sri Lankans with practical expertise in handling epidemics.

Reasons for expanding community clusters of COVID-19:

The mentioned approach by the COVID-Task Force led to the failure of diagnosing infected people in the community, and therefore, since June 2020 unwittingly allowing the community spread of COVID-19 across the country. Apparently, they were not aware of it, as mentioned above, PCR testing was not performed in the community. It is noteworthy that, the failure to detect COVID-19 during the past few months is not equivalent to, not having community spread. “Absence of evidence” (i.e., lack of PCR testing) is not the same as “evidence of absence” of a disease.

It is a futile attempt by the Task Force and government spoke person to deny the ongoing COVID-19 community spread; the majority of people in the country are aware that is not true. Using modelling, such as reproduction number and by other data, the author predicted in the first week of June 2020, an impending second wave of COVID-19 in Sri Lanka commencing in mid-August. He also predicted that the numbers of PCR positive persons would double, every 7 to 10 days: both materialized.

The responsibility for the failure to control the current community spread of COVID-19 is firmly with the Task Force and the administrators of the health department. There has been a series of errors from the beginning, that still continue. These include but are not limited to, lack of tangible, effective, and realistic strategy and vision, conceit, and the refusal to consult relevant experts, and misleading the public. These issues were exacerbated by the lack of understanding the biology, the importance of natural immunity and ways to enhance it, underlying mechanisms of the spread of the disease, and importantly, the unacquaintance of how to prevent the spread of viral epidemic (particularly COVID-19) and protecting the public.

The government should not keep punishing people, instead, it should help them:

Despite serious hardships to the population, it seems that no lessons were learned from the previous six months and the extended, draconian curfews in Sri Lanka. Consequently, the government is taking the same failed approaches today. Moreover, it has now opted to punish people, rather than guiding, and helping them. The current approach by the government not only ineffective but also inhumane and unethical. One such example is the recently gazetted order by the health minister, designed to punish people, which is highly inappropriate for Sri Lanka. Surprisingly, no one has challenged it through the Courts, to date.

It has become clear that the only solution that the Task Force had to control the COVID-19 epidemic in Sri Lanka is (and still is) to enforce a worthless and destructive curfew for extended periods. COVID-19 virus does not understand nor cares about curfews nor whether it is enforced on day or night, to deciding to infect people. Infectivity is based on behaviour of people and the degree of immunity of individuals and the population. Neither of these is modified or improved by the punitive actions taken by the government. Moreover, it failed to incorporate the established disease prevention structure in the country. For example, the full involvement of Public Health Inspectors, district and council systems, and the Government Agents in each of the 25 districts; instead, many of these officials were marginalized.

 

Using the curfew to punish people will not solve the problem:

Law enforcement using the curfew as an excuse for intrusion into people’s homes and lives, under the guise of contact tracing. The contact tracing, which is an important part of the prevention of viral spread is currently performed as a military manoeuvre rather than per the ordinance. Contact tracing is intended to identify, inform, help people, and safeguard the community from the potential viral spread.

While contact tracing and quarantining are necessary to control the spread of the disease, it must be done in a humane manner to help people. Instead, the current practice of harassing and punishing people; capturing, transporting, and placing them with strangers in quarantine centres, without social distancing are against our culture and is highly unethical. Treating these citizens, of whom the vast majority do not have COVID-19, as enemies should not be tolerated; and must be objected to through the Courts.

It seems that the law-enforcing administrators have adopted a “wrongful attitude” to the contact tracing; army teams carry out orders using, “search and arrest” protocol. The stresses created through this damming protocol continuously harming thousands of people, mentally and physically: not only in the index cases but also their families and neighbours. The acute stresses-related harm created, could last for years or even be permanent in some of the affected people. Examples of such include development of severe depression and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Law enforcement must stop treating innocent fellow citizens as criminals by using the “curfewquarantine” excuse.

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Features

Hair Growth and Thickness

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LOOK GOOD – with Disna

 

* Oil:

Oiling is an old home remedy for hair growth and thickness. Oiling is also used for the strength, shine, and length of hair, from ancient times. The use of coconut oil, especially, is very effective when it comes to the amplification of hair health. Additionally, there are many essential oils for faster hair growth which you can use, too.

* How to Use: Generally, hair oiling works best when applied overnight. You could use this therapy every night, or after each night, then wash your hair, in the morning, before heading for studies, or work.

 

* Aloe Vera:

Aloe vera has long been used as a home remedy for hair growth, thickness, and treating hair loss problems It contains vitamins A, C, and E. All three of these vitamins are known to contribute to cell turnover, supporting healthy cell growth and shiny hair. Plus, vitamin B-12 and folic acid are also included in aloe vera gel. Both of these elements can keep your hair from falling out. Aloe vera plants can be easily grown indoors. A leaf can be plucked, occasionally, and cut open to reveal its gel. This gel needs to be applied on the scalp, basically, to provide nourishment to the roots.

*  How to Use:

Rub this gel on your head properly, leaving no area dry; wash after half an hour or so. Keeping this massage as a part of your weekly routine will eventually make your hair thick and long.

 

*  Green Tea:

Green tea is often consumed as a home remedy for weight loss. Surprisingly, it has many other benefits, including hair-related benefits.

* How to Use:

Consuming green tea once every day can add to the strength and length of your hair. If your body is extremely comfortable with green tea, then you may even consume it twice every day.

 

* Onion Juice:

A bi-weekly application of onion juice can relieve you of your tension, regarding hair health. The smell can really torture you, but divert your attention in doing something else for a while, like making a puzzle or washing the dishes. From an early age, onion juice has been used as a home remedy to control hair fall. Research has shown that onion juice has been successful in treating patchy alopecia areata (non-scarring hair loss condition) by promoting hair growth .

* How to Use:

Take half onion and blend it. Apply the mixture on every nook and corner of your scalp and let it sit for some 60 minutes, or so. Shampoo it off when it’s time for the hair-wash.

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Features

Fun-loving, but… sensitive

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This week, my chat is with Nilu Vithanage. She is quite active, as a teledrama actress – having done four, already; her first was ‘Pavela Will Come In The Cloud, Mom’ (playing the role of a nurse). Then Came ‘Heavenly Palaces’ (student), ‘Black Town’ (a village character Kenkaiya), and ‘Wings Of Fire,’ currently being shown, with Nilu as a policewoman. You could checkout ‘Wings Of Fire,’ weekdays, on Swarnavahini, at 7.30 pm. Nilu is also active as a stage drama artiste, dancer…and has also been featured in musical videos.

And, this is how our chit-chat went…

1. How would you describe yourself?

Let’s say, I’m a bit on the playful side, and I like to have a lot of fun. But, I do find the time to relax, and, at home, it’s dancing to music! Yeah, I love dancing. Oh, I need to add that I’m a bit sensitive.

2. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

I get angry quickly. Fortunately, that anger doesn’t last long – just five to 10 minutes. But I wish I could get rid of anger, totally from my system!

3. If you could change one thing about your family, what would it be?

Nope, can’t think of anything, in particular. Everything is fine with us, and I’m proud of my only brother, and I feel safe when he is around. Or, come to think of it, if I did have another brother, I would feel doubly safe…when going out, in particular!

4. School?

I did my studies at two schools – C.W.W. Kannangara Central College, and Panadura Sumangala Girls’ School for my higher studies. Representing my school, I won first place in a speech competition and dance competition, as well.

5. Happiest moment?

When my husband comes home, or talks to me on the phone. He is stationed in Hatton and those calls and home visits are my happiest moments

6. What is your idea of perfect happiness?

I really find a lot of happiness feeding the fish, in ponds. I love to see them rush to pick up the tidbits I throw into the pond. That’s my kind of happiness – being close to nature.

7. Are you religious?

I would say ‘yes’ to that question. I like to go to the temple, listen to sermons, participate in meditation programmes, and I do not miss out on observing sil, whenever possible. I also find solace in visiting churches.

8. Are you superstitious?

A big ‘no.’ Not bothered about all those superstitious things that generally affect a lot of people.

9. Your ideal guy?

My husband, of course, and that’s the reason I’m married to him! He has been a great support to me, in my acting career, as well in all other activities. He understands me and he loves me. And, I love him, too.

10. Which living person do you most admire?

I would say my Dad. I truly appreciate the mentorship he gave me, from a young age, and the things we received from him

11. Which is your most treasured possession?

My family.

12. If you were marooned on a desert island, who would you like as your companion?

A camel would be ideal as that would make it easier for me to find a way out from a desert island!

13. Your most embarrassing moment?

One day, recently, with the greatest of difficulty, I managed to join a one meter distance queue, to withdraw money from an ATM. And, then I realised I didn’t bring the card along!

14. Done anything daring?

I would say…yes, when I ventured out to get involved in teledramas. It was a kind of a daring decision and I’m glad it’s now working out for me – beautifully.

15. Your ideal vacation?

I would say Thailand, after reading your articles, and talking to you about Amazing Thailand – the shopping, things to see and do, etc. When the scene improves, it will be…Thailand here I come!

16. What kind of music are you into?

The fast, rhythmic stuff because I have a kind of rhythm in my body, and I love to dance…to music.

17. Favourite radio station:

I don’t fancy any particular station. It all depends on the music they play. If it’s my kind of music, then I’m locked-on to that particular station.

18. Favourtie TV station:

Whenever I have some free time, I search the TV channels for a good programme. So it’s the programme that attracts me.

19. What would you like to be born as in your next life?

Maybe a bird so that I would be free to fly anywhere I want to.

20. Any major plans for the future?

I’m currently giving lessons to schoolchildren, in dancing, and I plan to have my own dancing institute in the future.

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Features

Snail-napping sets the stage for CGI road trip

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The SpongeBob Movie:Sponge on the Run

By Tharishi hewaviThanagamage

Based on the famous and one of the longest-running American animated series that made its debut on Nickelodeon in 1999, created by marine science educator and animator Stephen Hillenburg, ‘The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run’ is the latest addition to the SpongeBob movie franchise, coming in as the third installment after ‘The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie’ (2004) and ‘The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water’ (2015).

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