SOME OF YOUR FAVOURITES DISCUSS COVID-19
BY MAHIKA PANDITHA
As the Covid-19 outbreak and lockdowns all over the world continue, we see that a lot of fake news and misinformation is also being spread, especially through social media. However, lucky for us, we have several people out there on the ‘gram who share VERIFIED information and also inspire their followers and many more to follow the rules and do their best during this time. You have probably heard of them, seen their posts, or reposted their stories – whatever the case, each and every one of the following people have been absolutely positive and helpful during this time of crisis to many.
Heshan De Silva (@heshdesilva) shares useful information on social media.
Zainab Faizal (@queen_bae_1926) is a digital content creator, influencer, blogger, and writer.
Sharan Velauthan (@sharan_velauthan) is a TEDx speaker and mental health advocate.
Dasuni Athauda (@dasuniiiii) is a news reporter/news anchor.
Lakshan Seneviratne (@lakshanseneviratne) is a social and political activist.
Nabeela Iqbal (@nabeelaxiqbal) is a volunteer at the Sri Lanka Girl Guides Association.
We at The Sunday Morning Happinez had the chance to ask them a few questions over the last week, and here is what they shared.
What are your thoughts on the current pandemic?
HESHAN DE SILVA
The loss of life all over the world is very sad to see. Thousands of people lost to a virus which no one had heard of a few months ago. I cannot imagine the pain people are going through. It’s heartbreaking. Then, you have to think
about the loss of income of people. I hope they get the assistance they need from governments in the coming days
Honestly, it’s so overwhelming. But this puts things into perspective and shows you how little control we’ve got, regardless of how “developed” or “advanced” we are in this day and age. However, we are seeing progress. A HUGE THANK YOU goes to the Sri Lankan Army, all the health workers, the Police, and everyone
from Uber drivers and tuk uncles to the cashiers.
It’s another hurdle we need to overcome and we will. My thoughts go out to all those who have lost loved ones due to the virus as well as those who are feeling alone, depressed, anxious, and lonely; the ones who are stuck in houses with a partner who is abusive; the ones who are sick, older in age, and vulnerable. Please reach out if you ever need to chat to someone.
The outbreak of Covid-19 is undoubtedly something that none of us expected, especially in terms of its severity and global impact. This pandemic is quite unfortunate, but we’ve been through many plagues, pandemics, and disasters in the past, so I believe this pandemic too can be conquered if everyone is willing to commit to their social responsibilities.
I am speechless and extremely saddened that such a tiny virus could have such a massive impact in this modern day and age, even after countless new medicinal developments via technology. I pray that this will end soon and our
country will get back on its feet with a booming economy.
At the beginning of this year, we all underestimated the spread of the virus. Right now, it feels like we are living in a history lesson of the future. It’s crazy to think how the entire world needs to co-operate to reduce the curve/
spread of Covid-19 and how we are actually trying to do that.
How would you advise your followers and the general public to act in this situation?
HESHAN DE SILVA
Be responsible andstay at home. We can beat this if we sacrifice our personal needs for the greater good. Selfishness and arrogance whilst thinking “I won’t get sick” will only lead us down a dangerous path. Also, wash your hands regularly and thoroughly, carry a bottle of hand sanitiser, and wear a mask if you are going around when curfew is lifted.
Don’t touch your face, especially since it means easy access to our mouth and nostrils via which the virus can get into our system. Social distancing is a must! Stay away from people and stay at home. If you’ve flown down to Sri Lanka recently, do your civic duty of adhering to the rules imposed by the Government.
Right now, it’s about being selfless. Don’t purchase more than you need at grocery stores. It’s also important to stay at home; social distancing is so crucial in flattening the curve right now. The best thing is to stay calm and talk to our loved ones and friends as much as we can. Let’s use it to keep in touch with those in and out of your home.
Stay at home and wash your hands often. It’s that simple! The only way to beat this virus, which has one of the highest rates of transmission, is to stop rapid community transmission. So it would be great if all of us could stay at home and follow basic hygiene practices because little differences go a long way and we will be saving so many lives in the process of it all!
I first make sure I share precise and accurate information with my followers. As a young political activist and a citizen of this nation, I have a certain duty. So I urge everyone to get their news updates from reliable sources;
during the Covid-19 outbreak in Sri Lanka, the Health Promotion Bureau and the Department of Government Information are doing a great job in giving updates.
Be responsible for the part you play in this situation. The effects of the pandemic can only reduce if each person does their part and stays safe, for theirs and others’ benefit. Those privileged enough to purchase groceries should try to help out anyone who cannot afford it during this time.
What extra precautions have you taken?
HESHAN DE SILVA
Wearing a mask when outside my home, carrying hand sanitiser wherever I go, and generally improving my personal health by working out more and eating healthy, amongst other things. Additionally, I completely stopped going to
restaurants, etc. and limited the number of people I spend time with.
I’ve been quarantined for the past few days now. I wash my hands frequently , deep-clean my house using Dettol on every surface, and carry my hand sanitiser with me if I have to step out to get groceries and essentials. I don’t wear a mask at the moment because the world is currently facing a shortage and according to WHO, you don’t need one unless you’re suffering from respiratory symptoms, handling someone with respiratory symptoms, or work in healthcare.
Please think of what you would want and then apply that to those around you; be empathetic towards those who have less. I bought essential groceries, but even then I couldn’t get a lot of food. Luckily, I had a friend who gave me some groceries. I dealt with bad levels of anxiety over the past few days, so keeping my mental health in check is super important!
In terms of precautions, I make sure I wash my hands at least once every 60 minutes for about 30 seconds and I started using sanitiser whenever I came in contact with an elevator, doorknob, or other object that could possibly be a contamination ground for the virus.
As any Sri Lankan citizen, I too scavenged the streets for medical gloves, masks, and hand sanitiser. I follow the WHO’s Covid-19 prevention methods by keeping my hands clean and maintaining social distancing, even though it’s challenging in my field of work right now. If you know you’re safe and protected from the virus, you are no threat to others’ wellbeing.
I live with my 90-yearold grandmother, so I had to be very careful about not being outside and always staying sanitised. Staying safe does not always mean doing it for myself, it means being careful around those who are immunocompromised.
How do you spend your days during self-isolation/quarantine?
HESHAN DE SILVA
There is a world of options; shows and movies that you haven’t had time for on Netflix, Scribd has opened its entire collection for free for the world for 30 days, and if you want to get fit and healthy while interacting with a different group of people, companies like Barressential (@barressential) are having daily courses for free on Instagram Live.
Initially, I was bored and sulking. But we’re all so privileged. I’m not enjoying staying home; every day I’m on the BuzzFeed Tasty app looking up recipes to make. I’ve got a bunch of books and magazines I’ve not had the time to read. Netflix and chill is definitely a thing at this point! I am taking care of my skin, I cleaned my room, the kitchen, etc., and also made an effort to not miss out on my prayers.
I started a live show called “Going Live for Kindness” on Instagram. I realised that if I’m going through anxiety and loneliness, other people may be as well. So I’ve been putting a lot of my effort and time into this show. I have three guests every day on the weekdays and four on the weekend.
Staying at home during this period proved to be quite difficult for me at first because I’mso used to always working, and given the nature of my job, I’m never in one place for too long! But I’ve found it gets a lot easier as the days go by because this time of social distancing has allowed me to spend some time with myself and my family, which is something we rarely get to do because of our busy schedules, and for that I’m really grateful.
At first, I thought I could maybe have some rest, sleep while silencing my phone… basically like a cooling off weekend. Nonetheless, I ended up operating online with a few friends on a new project, did a lot of reading on the global diplomatic policies to keep myself updated, and just replied to a whole bunch of emails – 24 hours went missing in a jiff.
Well, I can’t leave the house so I am mostly at home reading. I have noticed a lot of my habits up close, especially how I procrastinate a lot.
PHOTOS CINNAMON LAKESIDE, HUDA & AMASHA, ELEGANT MAGAZINE, NILAKSHI GUNASEKERA, NALISHA KUMARASINGHE, NABEELA IQBAL