Posted on May 25th, 2021

Sarath Wijesinghe President’s Counsel, former Ambassador to UAE and Israel, President Ambassador’s Forum

Unseen, unknown, uncontrolled ferocious virus in action

The above statement by H E the President is so important and crucial when the country and the world is going through a most difficult patch in the annuals of history on health crisis when some parts of the world ‘Human’ are dying at an unprecedented rate. President’s statement should be properly understood and interpreted as coming from a person struggling with other world leaders to save the lives of the people dying of the unknown, unseen, uncontrolled virus spreading freely unconcerned and with freedom to spread due to the careless making of the human by default. Indeed there is a duty by all citizens, including professionals, journalists, politicians including governance and the opposition with critics and all concerned citizens to know their limits duties and parameters until the end of the difficult period we bound to achieve one day to come sooner or later based on our own acts and behaviour. Still, we are not disciplined and not behaving properly. President needs help from every segment of the society to win the war on the dreadful virus spreading fast. Whilst one group is making all attempts to control the pandemic and the impact on the human race, some attempt to take advantage of the situation for personal political and professional uplift with the most selfish motives. Undoubtedly the success of the major pandemic depends on the joint efforts and operations in the most organized and scientific methods for the end to be a success story-the ambitions of the majority and one wonders whether some have different views with different agendas. We were successful in the first wave, but messed up in two and three by our own making with the number of deaths and countless and unimaginable disastrous consequences to the community fearing of invasion of a wave similar to India, and the President is trying the best with the group led by the political front and the able Army Commander struggling hard with his team seeking a vision for the campaign and it seems a vision is insight learning from previous mistakes In this most serious and ferocious pandemic situation.  The assistance of the opposition and independent activist including the media is an essential component reminding of the contributions made by the traditional left opposition during the post war malaria and smallpox situations, when the modern leftists and opposition is making irresponsible statements with no constructive propositions, directions or guidelines to see an end to the agony which is brewing so rapidly spreading the third wave faster than expected. Media being the fourth pillar of democracy, has to be careful when there is a national and international calamity on pandemic situations citizens dying in India and many parts on the road and in front of hospitals which we witness on television images with crying eyes and helplessness and sadness cursing the cruel virus spreading fast. This is the time the media should act and react with a sense of responsibility, avoiding exaggerations, misrepresentations, and misreporting for personal and professional gains breaking the accepted norms and policies of journalism, a noble profession the journalists are engaged in. Having witnessed carefully, we find the most journalists and some professionals are doubtful whether genuine and straight forward to speak the truth to the world and the President may justified his contention and it is time for them to change the stunt and themselves being independent professionals answerable to the people and not to the President. In the resolution of the crisis, the help of the journalist and the professionals are imperative and it is time they change themselves in the side of the country. The world is helpless to help others, when many parts of the hemisphere have not received a single dose of vaccine. Are we not fortunate in that sense being helped to a certain extent despite our foreign policy and relations are not in the expected standard? The unseen and uncontrolled virus is flourishing, attacking the world over. Today our death toll is 600 and in India 300,000. It is indeed worrying.

Not satisfied with the way pandemic is fought but it is not the time to change governance-‘give a chance’

We are not satisfied at all on the way the pandemic is fought, and many steps taken by governance. But this is not the time to change governance or resist the efforts by the professional and the dedicated health group wanting a vision and scientific directions, as in Israel and the United Kingdom successful today in combating the menace with minimum deaths and the pandemic arrested. Fortunately, Army and forces are doing an excellent job with no proper vision but following instructions to the last word. We come across irresponsible voice cuts, statements, and advice by pseudo scientists, and officers with conflicting and different views enjoying taking to media like parrots criticizing and finding fault of any for publicity which is dangerous and misleading. President’s statement above is prompted by a statement made by some groups after having met the President at a crucial meeting giving conflicting view to the media outside, proposing lock downs and other steps. Groups and professionals must speak with one word –voice and should be responsible to the nation at this difficult hour of danger. This applies to media, who should be more careful and responsible in their dealings with the dangerous Covid 19 and other situations at this difficult hour. Honestly, GMOA, OPA, BASL, and other professional organization we had utmost faith has let us down as mere hollow talk shops like to give voice cuts only. We presume it is time for the President to take over rains without giving instructions and getting things done via Army doing an excellent job in complying orders with no proper vision and long-term scientific and planned strategy. Please learn from our mistakes and the success stories of our dear friends.

Current situation

The current situation is not satisfactory with 44 deaths, 4000 new cases, 1133 deaths all so far, 2959 positive cases missing and 30% unable to find the origins, which is alarming with rough calculations and 10.000 hidden unknown somewhere is a dangerous situation but a reality to bear and take notice of, with forecast of deaths of 100 a day and one million cases soon if the situation continues, which is frightening with 88000 detections in western province alone. No doubt the situation has to be controlled and put to an end without the loss of further losses of further human beings. Let us learn from our mistakes and other countries that succeeded in the fight against the pandemic. Let us take two countries known and close to us partially victorious such as Israel and the United Kingdom, where the death toll have and the pandemic situation have been highest and now under control. Sri Lanka is hesitant to go for a full lockdown for obvious reasons understood as the country is obviously unable to withstand the consequences. This is the time the Unions, active and professional groups should come forward, learning from the two examples we have shown proven the success story. We are so worried and angry on the dead silence of the professional organizations such as OPA, BASL, other professional bodies, leading Fat Cat companies forcing 400% profits, and super rich with enormous undeclared wealth not realizing they must have a country to earn and enjoy more if they wish to in future. Israel, with 839308 cases, and 6397 deaths in January 2021 is zero deaths, and UK, with 4460446 and 127716 deaths on 21-may, have no new cases or deaths. These are not miracles. It is hard scientific and systemic explorations we should a follow, and to adopt our own methods with variants according to our environment. It is time for the country to be on a war footing like until the issue is completely resolved consolidating efforts harnessing the efforts of all in one direction, with professional and scientific methods. The situation around us is fast brewing for the worst. Nepal,(8%V) Bangladesh,(2%V) India,(7%V) Malaysia, and Thailand are in trouble without proper and sufficient vaccinations when only 7% Indian population is vaccinated, and there is a 1000% rise of the infections in Sri Lanka indicating the dangerous situation in the region when the virus do not travel and transmitted via carrier showing the need to be careful and take precautions ever increasing countrywide and worldwide. Our close friend the Minister Health may be tired and exhausted and it is advisable it to be given to a more professional and strategist – the outspoken Dr Sudarshani Fernandopulle with a little bit of freedom. We are not in a part of the governance nor holding any position/s, but concerned professionals love the country equal to our life.

Towards a resolution

Resolution is possible if and when the proper and scientific methods are applied listening to the genuine educated and experienced professionals. It is time to revisit the foreign policy and relations with the world when we are depending mostly on China always prepared to help us as a good friend even though our policy is otherwise. Sri Lankan Prime Minister has had discussions with the Chinese ‘’Ambassador Qi Zhenhong’’ who has agreed to donate 500,000 doses of ‘’Sinopharm’’ which is great as the success of Israel has been the vaccines and taking additional measures simultaneously. Other measures are their innovations they are experts on. Initially the death toll was high as they live long up to 100 average pruned to be victims of Covid 19 easily. Years Therefore it is advisable to concentrate on vaccinations initially and go back to basics which is easy to practice when Lock down is difficult – but a necessity under the circumstances. Now that the state has decided to go through the difficult process of lock down instead of the slow process at the cost of economic downtown, which the country may not be able to bear. Government must take steps to extract funds from the extra rich and ‘’Fat Cat’’ companies to feed the poor with daily wages, and the agriculture sector and definitely there will be no opposition from the public. The attack on Virus must come from all sides. We must reactivate our friendships with the world through the inactive and inefficient network of Ambassadors most whom are not pushy and up to standard to deliver goods to the nation, by activating them and get the support for more and more vaccines as examples have proved that the vaccines are working. We do not think the vaccine programme launched have been successful sufficient effectual and efficient at all. It has not been done well, scientifically on time and it should have been given to a person of the calibre of Dr Gunasena who appears to be doing an excellent job or Professor Tissa Witharana – a world renowned scientist in this area. President appear to an honest hardworking personality lacking a vision for the war on Covid 19 in the absence of proper and genuine advisors and I wish he reads articles of this nature written genuinely and impartially expecting no benefits. We believe he spends more and more on Covid until full eradiation which is possible if cards are played well. We also appreciate the efforts made by the Prime Minister with seen and unforeseen constraints, in trying to find funds from Chinese Government that has given a positive response by giving 500,000 doses of ‘Sinopharm’ and substantial loans on low interests, indicating the foreign relations play a pivot role in the process of resolution of the pandemic crisis when many countries are without any assistance and vaccination in sight. Vaccination programme should have been given to Professor Tissa Witharana and Dr Sudarshani Fernandopulle to manage as she speaks sense and acting professionally. It is still not too late to make changes. There are promises to give us more vaccines the we must get the full use of the drugs as it has been proved vaccine is a way out leering forum Israel and United Kingdom.

Can we win the war?

Why not? Israel and UK has won by being innovative, scientist, and methodical and why not we succeed in the war by following them while our own techniques. We need funds to withstand lock downs and purchase vaccines. It is a good idea to make our own vaccine with the help go China or Russia and give the responsibility a person such as Professor ‘’Tissa Vitharana’’ world reputed scientist on the subject. Israel is a friendly country of ours became a world power and leaders on water, innovations, agriculture with a close friendship with us with the nation’s inception 73 years ago. Two Prime Ministers met each other in Israel ( when the writer was then Ambassador) on Sri Lankan Prime Minister’s visit cementing existing relationships is a good foundation to exchange knowledge and experiences of the leading innovators, for us to win the war on Covid 19 until full eradication. The initial death toll of Israel and the UK have been extremely high with almost zero today due to their hard work, scientific approach and the proper strategy. It is time to mend fences with our traditional friend the UK to seek assistance main on professional assistance advice and directions based on their success. The writer happens to be in the UK these days being quarantined at home, experiencing excellent treatment to the citizen with utmost care and professionalism. The testing kit is sent home by post, and every now and then health workers telephone you with advice, assistance and help in kind if necessary. Your GP is constantly in touch and the citizen is well looked after. Test kits are made in India as a household item and there is no reason why we do not follow suit as this may go on for some time. We are very sorry that the leader of the opposition and spouse has contracted the deadly virus, fortunately in a mild form, which is not a good example to others who should be careful and vigilant. We wish them and colleagues full recovery urging the leaders of the country to be careful to help others requesting them to be more responsible in making statements and giving voice cuts to media on Cvid19 setting an example to media. In short, this is a winnable war if we play the cards well, act carefully and professionally harnessing all energy and efforts, leaving aside the political and all other differences, for the betterment of the nation and the citizen in need of our help, strength and guidance. Sarath7@hotmail.co.uk

2 Responses to “‘’TELL ME ANYTHING (on ‘Covid’ 19 situation) INSTEAD TO MEDIA – PRESIDENT TELLS STATE OFFICIALS’’-‘Mirror’”

  1. Gunasinghe Says:

    Sarath, Thanks. Good analysis. I could not believe that Grama Sevaka union planing to strike. PHI union had organize same thing and postpone it. I can not believe that these professionals behaving like children. I do not have faith on GMOA.

  2. Noor Nizam Says:

    Sarath Wijeysinghe,
    Explanatory and informative. Well written content.
    Please remember that the The “media gatekeepers” of Media groups like Sirasa TV, MTV, Swarnavahini, TNL, Rupavahini and ITN who are “ONLY” hell-bent in damaging such a organized preventive system and the “rolling out” of the vaccines even reaching out to remote villages, will go pel-mel/all out to “MISINFORM” the Nation and sabotage the plans. They do not understand how the nation has to be thankfull to the Army Commander and his soldiers and the servicemen of the tri-forces supported by the Health personnel undergoing UNTOLD STRESS for maintaining the controll of NOT allowing this pandemic to ravage the country.
    Noor Nizam – Peace and Political Activist, Political Communications Researcher, SLFP/SLPP STalwart, Convener “The Muslim Voice” and Member “Viyathmaga”.

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