The COVID-19 pandemic is considered as the most crucial global health calamity of the century and the greatest challenge that the humankind faced since the 2nd World War. COVID-19 is a contagious disease caused by the most recently discovered coronavirus. This novel pandemic was unknown before the outbreak began in Wuhan, China, in December 2019. It has rapidly spread and continues to spread like a moving wave and has caused many disasters including the deaths of people in almost every country in the world. According to the latest news coronavirus continues to be severe in the USA, making it the most affected country in the world while India is reported as the second most affected country.
The first case was confirmed in Sri Lanka on 27th January 2020 after, a Chinese woman who visited Sri Lanka as a tourist from Hubei province in China. However, Sri Lanka was able to control the first wave of coronavirus successfully but now the country is facing the second wave which is originated from the Brandix, Apparel Company, located in Minuwangoda and now having clusters around the country. The government is working hard on detecting the cluster, identifying the specific individuals which have been affected by the virus, and quarantining them. Lately, about 100 infected patients are reported per day.
Numerous different types of potential vaccines are tested and are in development stages targeting to protect against COVID-19. There are more than 70 vaccines in the global pipeline and a few of them have entered clinical trials with many planning to begin human trials this year. Building on the tremendous success of vaccines thus far, there is significant hope for a future further transformed by innovative vaccines.
This pandemic has made huge changes in our lives in many ways, physically, mentally, and economically, etc. It has caused a massive economic crisis in the global economy. The way we do business and interact could be fundamentally changed by COVID-19. The decline of the job market and loss of jobs and individual incomes increase poverty especially in poor and developing countries like Sri Lanka. The government is struggling to slow down the transmission of the disease by testing & treating patients, quarantining suspected persons through contact tracing, restricting large gathering, and maintaining complete or partial lockdown. In addition, the government has taken many more actions such as introducing new quarantining laws which include a fine of Rs 10,000.00 or 6 months imprison or both for failing to wear face masks, imposing curfew only in several areas, etc. Some of the restrictions like social distancing, restricting social events, restrictions in traveling, closing down of cinema, working from home and online learning have caused our lives somewhat lethargic and boring. The fear of the disease and social isolation may lead to stress reactions that could develop into other psychological disorders. As first-year university students, we lost university life and now it has become daydreams with so much expectation. We look forward to climbing those steps to get to our bench, sit with our mates and actually watch our role models, scientists and lecturers conduct lessons and learn amidst our peers because we have never got to experience it, even after having completed a semester and an exam.
The coronavirus pandemic has many darks sides but no matter how sad and serious all of these things, there are bright sides as well. This pandemic has created us the opportunity to spend more time with our loved ones and to reshape our habits and routines and make changes to our daily life that we might actually want to keep also after the crisis. This challenging time is a great opportunity for social bonding and other ways of connecting to and helping people. In the individualized societies, many of us live in, this provides opportunities to connect and create more social coherence not only during the crisis but also afterward. We used to have a very strong tether with our phones but with this pandemic, it somehow turned into other stuff like gardening, cleaning, cooking, and onto many other things that remind us of our childhood days. The virus caused a dramatic decrease in industrial activities. Factories are closed, road traffic has reduced radically and air traffic collapsed, and the lack of tourism has emptied the streets in overcrowded cities. This is also good news for our planet. A significant reduction can be seen in greenhouse gasses and other air, water, and land polluting outputs. It is also a chance to create awareness for the moderate role we play on this planet and accept that things cannot always go as we want them to go. The virus shows us that, no matter how well-planned and organized we are, in almost every aspect of life we have to be in control.
Ending the COVID-19 pandemic is our duty and on our shoulders. Thus, it is important that we all should understand the gravity of this dreadful virus and support the government to control the further spread of disease, obeying whatever restrictions are imposed to rise from this global crisis.
By Rtr. Hansini Jayasinghe