Sri Lanka moves towards normalcy | Sunday Observer

Sri Lanka moves towards normalcy

Sri Lanka is one of the few countries which will go through the post-corona scenario early. But the situation is also not a cake walk. It is another major challenge. The Government is entrusted with a major responsibility to re-build the stalled economy in quick succession without interrupting the normalcy of the country. The agriculture, fishing and export crops will be given preference. Although the one million home gardening – small scale cultivation project is underway, it has a long way to go to reap expected results.

By now, some of the countries have understood the behaviour of the corona virus. It is important to understand the attitude of an entity early as possible.The sooner the better , since it will help us to mitigate the damage. This is the special extraordinary feature that Sri Lanka has. Corona is not like other viruses.It has a different behavioural pattern. Even Chinese scientists are still studying it.

“The coronavirus has caused upheaval, creating unstable environments around the world. As the disease spreads, so does instability with other areas becoming uncertain, subject to change and operating without familiar context and predictable patterns. People are adapting to their changing, unstable environments and making different decisions. The health/financial concerns and behavioural adjustments will continue to have an enormous social and economic impact. ”

According to Eurostat, 33.7 per cent of the elderly in Germany live alone. In Italy, it’s 30.7 per cent. However, in Spain, even fewer elderly live on their own, namely 24.1 per cent.

Hence, the impression that the virus spreads faster or more so because of the care for the elderly doesn’t quite hold.

Even though some of our followers’ arguments didn’t quite hold up in the light of the statistics, expert on cross-cultural psychology, Michele Gelfand said that our different cultures may be an important factor with regard to the current coronavirus situation.

The corona behaviour

As of May 28,58, 03,658 cases and 357,712 deaths due to the coronavirus 2019 (Covid-19), caused by the novel, severe acute respiratory syndrome, coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), had been reported worldwide.

The epidemic began in mainland China, with a geographical focus on the city of Wuhan, Hubei. However, on February 26, 2020, the rate of increase in cases became greater in the rest of the world than inside China.

Clinical studies of hospitalised patients have shown that, at the onset of Covid-19, patients frequently show symptoms associated with viral pneumonia, most commonly fever, cough, sore throat, myalgia, and fatigue.

The case definition adopted in China and elsewhere includes further stratification of cases as severe (defined as tachypnea 30 breaths per min], oxygen saturation ≤93% at rest, or PaO2/FiO2 ratio <300 mm Hg) and critical (respiratory failure requiring mechanical ventilation, septic shock, or other organ dysfunction or failure that requires intensive care).

According to the report from the WHO–China Joint Mission on Covid-19, 80 per cent of the 55, 924 patients with laboratory-confirmed Covid-19 in China to Feb 20, 2020, had mild-to-moderate disease, including both non-pneumonia and pneumonia cases, while 13•8 per cent developed severe disease and 6•1per cent developed to a critical stage requiring intensive care. ( Courtesy : https://www.thelancet.com/journals/laninf )

In a study of clinical progression in 1099 patients it was shown that those at the highest risk for severe disease and death included people over the age of 60 years and those with underlying conditions, including hypertension, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, chronic respiratory disease and cancer.

“To beat the pandemic, we need “a more rapid change of behaviour than I can think of in recent human history,” says Robb Willer, a sociologist at Stanford University. He recently helped recruit more than 40 top behavioural scientists to summarise their field’s research on how to steer people into certain actions and how it might aid the response to the pandemic.”

Two hundred and ten countries have been affected sofar. Around 58, 03,658 people are affected around the world.357,712 deaths have been reported.25,08,944 have recovered from the deadly decease as at May 28,2020.

In Sri Lanka , the situation is different, 1,469 affected as of May 28, 732 have fully recovered. 10 deaths have been reported so far. The 10th death was also reported on May 24. Sri Lanka managed to maintain a low death rate as of this date which is a major success compared to regional and other countries in the world. The sudden surge in corona affected cases has not done any damage to the internal control of the country. Sri Lanka is slowly but steadily moving towards establishing normalcy.

“Sri Lanka is one of the few countries which will go through the Post-Corona scenario early. But the Post-C situation is also not a cake walk. It is another major challenge. The Government is entrusted with a major responsibility to re-build the stalled economy in quick succession without interrupting the normalcy of the country. The agriculture; fishing and export crops will be given preference. Although the one million home gardening – small scale cultivation project is underway, it has a long way to go to reap expected results.”

Amid these challenges Sri Lanka celebrated Vesak on a low note but in a meaningful manner. TheVesak week has been very successful in terms of practices adopted. Buddhist devotees have given more importance to prathi-paththipooja and adjusted themselves to organise the religious observances in their respective home-front.This is a major success when it comes to change of attitudes for betterment. Four stamps were released to mark Vesak. A special function was held under the patronage of Prime Minister, Mahinda Rajapaksa. As the Minister of Buddhasasana, Cultural Affairs and Religious Affairs, the Premier in his Vesak message thanked the public for the cooperation extended to control the corona virus epidemic. The Prime Minister also requested Buddhists to observe and follow religious observances staying at home.

I personally feel that this year Vesak was observed in a simpler manner but in an exemplary, dignified and meaningful way. The National Vesak Festival was held this year at Horana, Gonapola, Olaboduwa Jayawardena-ramayapurana Raja Maha Viharaya. Now, arrangements are being made to celebrate Poson poya on June 5, 2020 on a grand scale in Mihintale.

We reiterate that at this stage there is no room for politics. Reconvening the dissolved Parliament is absurd and baseless. When a Parliament is dissolved, it means that the state leader has made this decision according to the powers vested with him in the Constitution. The country leader executes plans according to thepeople’s wish.

When Gotabaya Rajapaksa was elected as the President in the Nov ember16 election , immediately after the election he said that he will dissolve Parliament and call for a snap election at the very first opportunity he gets. This is because this Parliament was elected during the previous government and the people have given a clear mandate to the new President, to go for a new Parliament to implement the pledges given in the election manifesto. In this context, the President has dissolved the Parliament. The people’s representatives of the old Parliament should also realise that they are not the representatives the people wanted. They want a new group of strong political stalwarts to help the President to run the country.

In this backdrop, reconvening a dissolved Parliament is ridiculous as the people of this country will never ever endorse such a move. Even the representatives of the dissolved Parliament should realise this fact. The previous UNP government has deliberately delayed many elections and denied the franchise rights of the people. Let’s hope for the best and that the much awaited General Election is held on a scheduled date given by the Election Commission.

The US embassy in Sri Lanka has confirmed and released the certificate to show that the dual citizenship of President Gotabaya Rajapakasa is cancelled. This will prove that President Gotabaya Rajapaksa is no more a US citizen. Now, legal experts say that legal action could be taken against thosewho spread wrong information and fabricated stories about President GotabayaRajapaksa during the Presidential Election in November 2019. In fact, the President himself revealed this truth many times during the presidential election campaign. But the opposition members supported by some journalists from the state and private sector fabricated stories to bring into disrepute and defame President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

Defamation

Sri Lanka defines defamation in Chapter 19 section 479 of The Penal Code as “Words either spoken or intended to be read or by signs or by visible representations, makes or publishes any imputation concerning any person, intending to harm…the reputation of such person is said…to defame that person”. It goes on to explain what constitutes harm to a person’s reputation. It must “lower the moral or intellectual character of that person…lower the character of that person in respect of his caste or calling…lower the credit of that person”. To prove defamation, the plaintiff must point to the offending publication, show it has matters injurious to his/her reputation and it was spoken/written by the defendant. The defendant then has the opportunity to prove the publication is for the public benefit. Failing which the defendant will face a punishment including a jail term.

(The writer is a freelance investigative journalist and could be reached by. email:[email protected])

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