Social distancing, but do not sleep it off - WHO | Sunday Observer

Social distancing, but do not sleep it off - WHO

WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus
WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus

It was a meme, but sent the right message. This was one among many that circulated on social media platforms. The message? Social distance, and do not violate curfew laws. What if you do violate these curfew laws? Well, DIG Ajith Rohana will take necessary action against you. He was quoted in one meme saying “YandathEpa... Priya KiyalaBalane Na AthAdanguwataGannawa!” when the singer asserted that he did not go in search of beauties.

As of Friday (27), over 4,000 curfew law violators were arrested. A good many were caught playing cricket on the roads.

There was another meme that attempted to put things into perspective. A young adult dozing off on a sofa in broad daylight. Caption I- 2019, an irresponsible citizen. Caption II- 2020, a responsible adult. Again, sending the same message- social distancing is crucial during this pandemic period.

However, the World Health Organization (WHO) does not encourage anyone to sleep it off. WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus advised everyone to look after their physical and mental health, to eat healthy, and exercise. He urged the people to limit their alcohol consumption and avoid sugary drinks, and also stop smoking that could ‘increase your risk of developing severe disease if you become infected with COVID-19’.

Dr. Tedros also asked people to avoid news if it was too stressful, and only receive information from trusted sources.

“Supporting other people in your community can help you as much as it does them. Check in on neighbours, family and friends. Compassion is a medicine,” he said adding, “Listen to music, read a book or play a game”. Maybe not on the streets. You would be aggravating DIG Rohana.

On Facebook the country saw the plight of the husbands. One man even pledged authorities to allow men to go to work because he was overloaded with home chores. “I ask this on behalf of all married men,” he said.

Amid the drama, politician Bimal Rathnayake shared a few pictures of communities coming together to make masks and protective wear for health workers. “Sinhalese, Tamils and Muslims are busy preparing safety masks and overall for health workers and other government employees, at the Maligawatta Samadi Buddhist temple for the third consecutive day. They are making not only masks but a new Sri Lanka also,” he captioned the pictures. This is the essence of humanity. This week, the country saw women handing out bottles of water  to people in long queues outside supermarkets waiting their turn to buy essentials. Those who queued up included celebrities and cricketers showing all’s fighting a common enemy. And then there was a jackfruit seller who gave away his produce for free.

On Thursday the Kensington Palace tweeted a video of the three children of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge clapping as they joined thousands in saluting medical workers who are risking their own lives to save others. “To all the doctors, nurses, carers, GPs, pharmacists, volunteers and other NHS staff working tirelessly to help those affected by COVID 19: Thank you,” the caption read.

In his March 20 speech, WHO’s Dr. Tedros said “COVID-19 is taking so much from us. But it’s also giving us something special – the opportunity to come together as one humanity – to work together, to learn together, to grow together”.

The Sunday Observer takes this opportunity to echo the same message. Together we can survive this pandemic. Let’s listen to the experts and social distance till there comes a day to socialize.