By W. Vishnu Gupta –
When the captain is oblivious to the stark reality or does not want to accept the inevitable outcome, he will make sure that his band will keep on playing as predictable. However, 8 deaths per hour and a random sample of deaths reported due to corona virus (Covid-19) should be evident enough to conclude that Mother Lanka is in great danger.
In Gampaha region, “bodies were piling up at the District Base Hospital Wathupitiwala, as the hospital only has a small morgue with just four coolers and several bodies had been left outside the morgue due to the unavailability of space, Medical Superintendent of the hospital, Dr. M.I. Siraj said.” The stories originating from other regions of the country are no different.
In Jaffna, Deputy Direct Jaffna Teaching Hospital Dr. S. Sribavanandarajah said recently, “as there was only one gas chamber in the last five months, they cremated 156 bodies and it was a struggle he said using the only crematorium. The Deputy Director noted that currently they need about 250 oxygen cylinders, and they get around 40 cylinders from their own Hospital plant, around 30 oxygen cylinders from Point Pedro and 40 from Anuradhapura base hospital on daily basis but the need has increased, hence, the Jaffna Teaching Hospital is sending vehicles to Colombo to fetch about 100 Oxygen cylinders, every day.”
In Galle, Karapitiya Teaching Hospital reported “eight persons died of COVID pneumonia at the Karapitiya Teaching Hospital (KTH) in Galle on Sunday (25), the respective post-mortems carried out on the deaths revealed. Four of them succumbed to the virus while receiving treatment at the Karapitiya Teaching Hospital in Galle while the other four died at home. Subsequent PCR tests confirmed that they were infected with the virus. At the inquest it was also revealed that among the dead there was a mother of three who had been given the first dose of the COVID vaccine”
In Batticaloa, the regional director of health services, Dr. Nagalingam Mayooran stated recently “the COVID-19 death toll of the Batticaloa District climbed to 100 yesterday, making it the area with the highest number of COVID-19 casualties in the Eastern Province”
In Kandy, Daily Mirror of May 21, 2021, stated “reports reveal that the daily death toll is between 5-6 patents at the Kandy hospital with two deaths reported daily from the Theldeniya Hospital. The reason for these deaths is the Covid pneumonia condition”
The report on Covid-19 related deaths from other regions are not different, in fact they are worst than the above sample data. These are not just numbers as attributed by insensitive political leaders of the country, they are our elders, mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, and children deserving our love and care. They are dying at the rate of 8 deaths per hour and the rate is increasing exponentially. Yet a political appointee responsible for the control of the pandemic has failed to accept the bleak reality and dodged telling the truth about the prevailing and ravaging covid-19 pandemic. As it was reported in the Daily Mirror of August 19th, 2021 “Director General of Health Services Dr. Hemantha Herath said there is no community transmission yet in the country.” It is a callous assertion and his actions and responses to the pandemic must be investigated at the most opportune time.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) community transmission “is evidenced by the inability to relate confirmed cases through chains of transmission for a large number of cases, or by increasing positive tests through sentinel samples (routine systematic testing of respiratory samples from established laboratories)”. In the simplest terms, community spread is when you do not know the source of the infection. The director general of health services in Sri Lanka has failed to perform enough routine systematic tests, current CPR tests are not at any acceptable level to verify the veracity of data on confirmed covid-19 cases.
It is alleged that the political leadership has not heeded the advice given by health and scientific community of the country, hence it appears since the start of this pandemic, the actions taken were high-handed, outrageous, reckless, wanton, entirely without care. For examples, opening the tourism industry especially to those coming from Ukraine and India. Letting the people to celebrate New Year festival in unsafe manners, not allocating budget for vaccines, not negotiating with vaccine manufactures and not placing the vaccine orders on time, erratic procedure followed to administer the vaccines in contrary to the WHO guidelines, misplaced priorities including waste of time on constitutional amendments, preoccupation of enacting separate laws for Colombo Port City and laws favoring tax evaders, lack of regard to the health and scientific community.
There were only 4636 deaths in Mainland China, a country with 1.3 billion people and sharing international land borders with 14 countries. Sri Lanka, an island nation with about 22 million people has reported more than 7000 plus deaths so far due to Covid-19. It means 31 deaths per every one hundred thousand persons. Sri Lanka does not have any international land borders to worry about, yet the present government miserably failed to protect its citizens of this island nations. Not a great record that the semi literate and supposedly literate “viyath maga” politicians and political leadership of every faction can be proud of.
Every politician in Sri Lanka irrespective of their, party affiliations must be shameful for driving our elders, parents, children, and friends into deathbeds. What we are experiencing right now in our motherland is terrifying, undoubtedly it is worst than the experiences of 30-year war with LTTE, yet the from the tone of politicians, it appears they are yet to realize what they have done to our people during the rule of last 73 years of failed governments run by oligarchies and kleptocrats. For the last 73 years, oligarchy and kleptocracy leaders were busy in fattening their own wallets and stealing from people under various guises and neglected every segment of the economy of the country; chief among them are agriculture, education, health, and housing. The ultimate result is 31 deaths for every one hundred thousand of fellow citizens.
Irony is that no government or a leader since the demise of Hon. D.S. Senanayake has taken the rap for policy catastrophes on their watch. All were conniving cowards surrounded by corrupt and condescending bunch of henchmen. Our leaders never had guts to take responsibility for political missteps and misdemeanor. As a result, our nation has started to rot and disintegrate from inside. How many more lives, how many cremations, how many burials, how many families crying for loss of their loved ones, is it worth to gamble with our existence? Our politicians are well known to put the blame on others after taking over reins of the government since independence. It is no different this time, after fouling up the procedures and standards recommended by the WHO to contain the spread of Covid-19 pandemic, they allege the citizens for the spread of Covid pandemic, they blame the civic leaders and the teachers, also it is hilarious to watch the government accusing equally inept, conniving, and corrupt political adversaries such as SJB and JVP.
The government has finally decided to impose a 10-day lockdown. Though it is too late, the people must welcome the initiative. Judging by the criticism levelled against the political leadership by the religious leaders, scientific and health experts, union leaders and above all the ordinary citizens, it is very difficult to expect that the people will forgive and forget the arrogance, insensitivity, aloofness, and condescending behaviour displaced by the remnants of oligarchy leadership and kleptocrats. The people were made helpless, and they resorted to ways and means to protect themselves; Maha Nayakes pleaded the government, towns and cities shut downed voluntarily, thousand and thousands of people quarantine themselves in their own homes with the economic help of neighbors, wailing of mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, and friends’ day and night for loss of their loved ones in every corner of the country became normal routine. So how could any sensible person expect our people to forget and forgive entire lot of failed politicians of our motherland.