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Lessons from Lanka’s fight against coronavirus

Lessons from Lanka’s fight against coronavirus

Colombo isn't too far from Chennai. Speaking from my own experience after having spent months there covering various assignments over the years, I can say that being in Lanka doesn't really feel like being in a foreign country at all.

It's just that Colombo is a lot clean than Chennai and the citizens there are a lot more disciplined in every sphere of life – from following the hygiene procedures to abiding by traffic rules.

Hambantota to Kandy, Colombo to Jaffna, everyone follows rules.

Perhaps that also explains why Lanka has so successfully battled the coronavirus pandemic.

Have a look at the figures.

While the number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in Tamil Nadu are about to reach the 9,000 mark, including 61 deaths, the total number of Covid-19 positive patients in Sri Lanka stands at 891 with just nine deaths having been reported till Wednesday evening.

<img class="wp-image-1983 size-full" src="https://indianarrative.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/Colombo-railway-station.jpg" alt="" width="530" height="350" /> Passengers wait for trains at the Colombo railway station

Amongst these 891, there are around 500 Lankan Navy personnel and their close contacts who had tested positive.

While many countries in the region are still planning to get back to normal life and business, the small island nation launched 'Restart Sri Lanka' initiative and ended a 52-day lockdown Monday to revive the Lankan economy.

Their Education Ministry is now working on reopening the schools and has them opened all seven days of the week to make up for the lost time.

The Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority too has prepared a roadmap to bring the tourists back on its world famous beaches.

"Proud to launch “Restart Sri Lanka”, the national initiative to revive the #LKA economy that was affected by the #Covid19 pandemic. We must remember to exercise caution as we gradually restore normalcy. #TogetherWeCan #ReStartSriLanka," tweeted Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet">
<p dir="ltr" lang="en">My office along with <a href="https://twitter.com/Slim_Srilanka?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Slim_Srilanka</a> is proud to launch “Restart Sri Lanka”, the national initiative to revive the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/lka?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#lka</a> economy that was affected by the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/COVID19?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#COVID19</a> pandemic. We must remember to exercise caution as we gradually restore normalcy. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/TogetherWeCan?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#TogetherWeCan</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ReStartSriLanka?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#ReStartSriLanka</a> <a href="https://t.co/Tu4BDP2O1h">pic.twitter.com/Tu4BDP2O1h</a></p>
— Mahinda Rajapaksa (@PresRajapaksa) <a href="https://twitter.com/PresRajapaksa/status/1259547839174230017?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">May 10, 2020</a></blockquote>
<script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

"Sri Lanka is on the right track to contain the Covid-19 through the increased tracking, testing, isolation, and treatment strategy, the World Health Organization said recently.

India too has extended support to its neighbor by delivering four consignments of essential medicines and medical items.

The latest consignment, consisting of around 12.5 tonnes of medicines and equipment, was handed over to Dinesh Gunawardena, Lanka's Minister of Foreign Relations by Vinod Jacob, the Deputy High Commissioner of India in Colombo, last week.

Many experts are still advising the Lankan authorities to go slow on opening the lockdown but, given its previous battles, emergence and recovery from challenging situations – be it the terrorism or Tsunami—the country should be quite proud of its performance so far..