To lock down or not?

By Pujanee Galappaththi

With the new cluster of Covid-19 patients coming to light and positive cases being identified all over the island, everyone is living with fear and uncertainty. In this new normal, The Sunday Morning spoke to a cross-section of the general public to inquire if they think whether a lockdown should be imposed and how a lockdown would in turn affect our economy.


Lockdown crucial

M.F.M Fiham – undergrad at University of Peradeniya

The only way to contain the virus is with a lockdown, which would inevitably hamper the economy as expected, but do we have alternative methods to limit the spread of the virus? No. We have to remind ourselves the entire global economy is in a state of recess and this situation is not unique to us. In addition, there cannot be a complete revival of the economy until the threat of the virus is completely eradicated, which all points to one direction – another lockdown. The question whether it is a complete or partial lockdown, I leave it to the experts.

Also, the public needs to take the situation seriously and act according to the health and safety regulations because no lockdown would be of benefit if the public is careless and reckless. There should be a lockdown, the infected individuals should be identified, contacts and sources of transmission should be verified, and necessary precautions should be taken. This does seem to be the only way of containing the ruthless, uncompassionate virus terrorising the entire world.

All about self-care

Piyumi Kithulgoda – junior architect

We cannot afford an islandwide curfew, even though it really is necessary health and safety-wise, with the reason being that the country’s economy has declined dreadfully over the past few years, and we need all the support possible to get back up. Therefore, regional/area isolation of high-risk areas is acceptable at this point. The fact that the capital is pretty affected and no curfew is declared as yet could pose a threat in due time, both health and economy-wise. Shutting down Colombo and major cities of the country clearly cannot be done, but we can opt for alternative operational methods, i.e. offices/professions that can operate remotely, could do so; factories/workplaces that cannot follow the above may operate in shifts.

Basically, both the Government and the public are obliged to attend to the situation. Public (general public and organisations in particular) cannot simply wait for the Government to resolve everything for them. It’s down to self-care at this point. I also believe this is all easier said than done, and each person carries a different weightage, so you can’t single out one scenario to tackle.

Maybe partial lockdown

Fernando – law student

The truth is, whether the experts like it or not, if the situation did spiral out of proportion, the Government would have imposed a lockdown, notwithstanding expert opinions. But right now on the face of it, they seem to have it under control. In the meantime, people should take care of themselves because they are not infants or toddlers. Serious consideration must be given as to how they follow Covid-19 guidelines because it’s each to their own kind of thing at this point. Perhaps a partial lockdown in the coming days, if the situation does get worse, would be appropriate.”

Adhere to instructions

Tuan Iqram – mass communication major

I think a lockdown would be utterly pointless without prior PCR tests on all citizens. But this nation has been on a steady decline for several years due to the negligence from parliamentary parties, loopholes in the legislature, and of course the citizens. Reiterating what many experts put forth, cover the mouth and nose, wear gloves, and wash hands thoroughly. Additionally, educate oneself on the virus and to recall and always adhere to instructions.

Can’t afford a lockdown

Dr. S. Manoj Kumar – dental surgeon

I don’t think there can be another lockdown. Yes, we can’t afford another lockdown – people can’t afford to give salaries. Already most of the people are giving half-salaries. The people should come to the norms that they are living with the virus and should follow the appropriate measures. If we go for the lockdown, it would be easier tracing those who are affected, but people could die of starvation, cancer, and psychological illnesses too, unless we are able to compensate for the ones in need.

Must protect our people

Nimasha Dias – receptionist

The country is drowning in a great deal of fear right now; the pandemic is back and no one is sure where new patients will be identified next. Right now, we should be doing everything we can to contain the situation and protect our people. We need to safeguard our society before thinking about our economy. When it comes to that, then we can worry about it. I think the Government should take immediate steps to put the country on lockdown at least for 14 days to contain this cluster, so we can worry about other things.

Need strict regulations

Shehan de Alwis – freelance copywriter

I think imposing strict rules regarding health regulations is key at this point. Even now, we see so many people with their masks half worn, complaining about how irresponsible the Government is being. We have to take responsibility for our health right now and a lockdown will not help unless we educate the public on the need to take these health codes seriously.

Politicians dominating over professionals

Mihiri Wanniarachchi – Attorney-at-Law

The word lockdown is a plea from the general public nowadays. People say we cannot afford a lockdown. The funny part is we never were able to afford to pay huge taxes for the sins of the politicians, but we ended up paying. We simply couldn’t afford to buy expensive cars for the politician who we appointed to serve us, yet we ended up doing so. Even if we aren’t able to afford a lockdown, we will have to go for it in order to stop the spread of the virus.

Even before contributing to the economy of the country, we need to live. We first need to safeguard ourselves and our families. Why should we learn to live with this virus when we simply can’t stop the spread? We were successful in the first wave because decision-makers were the doctors and the forces. Now politicians are dominating over the professionals. I personally think we should go for a three-week lockdown and let all the politicians rest at home and let the forces and the medical units handle this pandemic situation.

We don’t need the hands extended by the foreign countries. That’s why we appointed a Sri Lankan president from Sri Lankan votes. We should go for a lockdown as it is better than suffering in the future by losing our loved ones.