Just hours ago, the Sri Lankan government lead by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, were successful in safely evacuating and bringing home 33 Sri Lankan students and their family members who were in Wuhan, a city which is under lock down due to the rapidly spreading novel coronavirus.
While many other countries are also in the process of evacuating their own citizens from the Hubei Province, it is commendable that Sri Lanka was able to lead cordial and successful discussions with the Chinese government in bringing our nationals back home safely.
There are many questions now being raised as to if these students pose a threat to other citizens. However keeping the safety of all citizens in mind, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and all other concerned stake holders including the Health Ministry and the military had taken steps to ensure that adequate facilities were immediately put in place and the returning students will be quarantine for 2 weeks.
Within a matter of days, the army was successful in putting up a sealed facility at the Diyatalawa base where each student will be kept in quarantine in a separate, sealed room whilst being provided with all the facilities including wifi, washing machines and other basic necessities.
The Sri Lankan Airlines crew who landed at the Wuhan airport to bring home our citizens safely on the instructions of President Rajapaksa, are also heroes who need to be commended and the military along with a team of specialized doctors will now take over to monitor the students.
The Sri Lankan government has taken marvelous steps to ensure that the coronavirus does not spread in the country, which indeed has a large number of Chinese nationals working in project sites and tourists arriving to holiday here. Infact since the initial stages of the outbreak in China, Sri Lanka’s Health Ministry was in discussions with the WHO and were monitoring the situation closely without any neglect. Within days, under the instructions of the President and Prime Minister, specialized scanners were deployed at the Bandaranaike International Airport along with a medical desk and once the virus began to spread to other countries, the Immigration began to issue a special mark on the ETA of Chinese nationals arriving here from the affected cities.
The strategy taken by the government was to implement strict preventive measures from the port of entry. A ‘nip it in the bud’ process.
Once the 43 year old Chinese tourist was detected with the virus late last month, all Chinese nationals arriving here were led to a separate terminal under heavy monitoring and specialized medical tests and quarantine.
The lady was immediately transferred to the National Infectious Disease Hospital within 24 hours, all those she had come in contact with were traced down and taken in for medical checks. The hotels visited by this tourist was also checked. Today, just within a matter of days, the Health Ministry announced that the Chinese national, who was treated by a team of specialized doctors had fully recovered and was ready to be discharged. Sri Lanka’s treatment on a coronavirus patient, was successful and swift.
The team which treated her indeed need to be praised.
Taking into consideration all the steps taken by the government, the World Health Organization, on Friday, appreciated the steps taken saying the Sri Lankan government had taken appropriate measures to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus and relevant ministries were well prepared and equipped.
Within these past few weeks, many individuals including the opposition have attempted to play dirty politics taking into advantage the ongoing situation by spreading unwanted fear among the public stating Sri Lanka was not well equipped to deal with an outbreak. However all these allegations have been in vain, and today, Sri Lanka is not only free from the virus, but 12 state hospitals across the country are also ready and equipped to deal with the situation if further cases are reported.
The new government indeed has worked in unity with all authorities to ensure the safety of this nation and this was one of the pledges undertaken by President Rajapaksa in his election campaigning – to always ensure the nation remains safe.
Sri Lanka indeed is taking great leaps forward under the strong leadership of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Mahinda Rajapaksa. It is time we all unite to join them in developing this beautiful country further.