Editorial

Australia’s Lowy Institute slaps those who sneer(ed) at Sri Lanka’s anti-Covid measures

Summary

The Yicai Research Institute rankings were laughed at, because it was China-based. Who is laughing now?

In September 2020, the Yicai Research Institute which is part of China’s largest financial media group Yicai Media Group, released an assessment of various countries in terms of prevention measures and economic recovery pertaining to the Covid-19 epidemic. China was considered to be the top performer. Sri Lanka was ranked No 2.

The findings were pooh-poohed by those who would frown and grown even if Sri Lanka was transformed into a paradise on earth. However, there was reason to question the rankings, especially since Sri Lanka was very low when it came to testing. Sri Lanka was good at tracking and tracing, especially during the so-called First Wave. The numbers were on the lower side and would have been even better if not for errors in protecting the first line of defence, so to speak, the Naval personnel, which resulted in what was dubbed ‘The Navy Cluster.’

The good times, relatively speaking, couldn’t last. A second wave was on the cards. The fact of a second wave cannot be blamed on anyone. Precautions were taken. The public was made aware of protection protocols. Indeed awareness-creation was a round-the-clock affair. It came in the newspapers, over radio and television, in social media and there were hundreds of warning signs in all places, public and private.

We still had a second wave. Preparations had been made. Quarantine centers were turned into intermediary hospitals to cater to those tested positive but were asymptomatic. Tracking and tracing continued. The numbers kept going up. However, the death rates remained at predicted levels or lower. Recoveries have not exactly kept pace with the infected number, but that’s partly because a 14 day stay in health facilities has been made mandatory.

So since it was a China story, there were doubters.

Fine.

Now here’s a bombshell: The Lowy Institute, an Australian (yes, that’s not part of China) think-tank, has found that while New Zealand has handled the pandemic most effectively, Sri Lanka is No 10 on the list, way ahead of India (86th) and the USA (94th).

Researchers at the Lowy Institute are reported to have tracked COVID-19 case numbers in each country, as well as confirmed deaths and testing rates.

We don’t know if things will get worse. We don’t know when the vaccine will turn things around. We know that Sri Lanka needs to be commended, the naaaah-sayers notwithstanding.

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