Strictly abide by health guidelines | Daily News


Strictly abide by health guidelines

More and more positive signs are emerging on the prospects of normal life resuming in the country after a near three month lockdown due to the Coronavirus.

The Election Commission has issued print orders for ballot papers in respect of the upcoming General Election that was pushed back due to the outbreak of the pandemic in the country. Not stopping at that, it has called for the necessary health guidelines for going ahead with the exercise. The Commission though was compelled to play it safe at the outset what with the entire State sector paralyzed due to the lockdown and regular curfews being imposed in the wake of more and more positive cases being reported.

In any event the final decision in this regard will be taken by the Supreme Court which is hearing the slew of cases before it on the feasibility or not of holding the election. The school authorities too have reportedly sought safety guidelines for reopening the schools. All Zonal Directors of Education are to be sent circulars laying down the stipulations and the conditions for reopening schools in keeping with the health guidelines.

Churches and other places of Christian worship reopened over the weekend after a near three month closure, for the faithful to pray and attend to their other spiritual needs although Holy Mass will not be held just yet since there is still the risk of large congregations which is not in keeping with the social distancing rule and certain other practices and rites that will be difficult to observe for the same reasons.

Sports fans, too, no doubt, will be cheered by our national cricketers taking to the field once again after a long hiatus. Practices in preparation for oncoming fixtures resumed yesterday (June 01) at a Colombo venue under the watchful eyes of the National coach and support staff.

Understandably the boys will be required to comply with the health guidelines currently in force and avoid close contact with each other. Tours by India and Bangladesh have been slated for next month but the visitors are reportedly yet to get the green light from the authorities at the other end.

The Health Ministry has meanwhile has issued guidelines for the reopening of gymnasiums countrywide, thus lifting the ban on gyms that came into force with the Coronavirus lockdown.

All these positive signs now being witnessed from the perspective of combating the Coronavirus, no doubt, was the result of the monumental work and painstaking labour and sacrifices of our Security Forces and health officials. It is therefore the duty of all citizens to secure the situation without conducting themselves recklessly and irresponsibly.

It is in this light that the unpardonable health blunder witnessed at the funeral of CWC leader and former Minister Arumugam Thondaman was indeed regrettable and by all means could not be condoned.

True, the late minister was a legendary figure in plantation politics and like his late grandfather Saumyamoorthy Thondaman, was much beloved by the plantation community and the legacy they left behind on behalf of their marginalized and repressed lot cannot be overlooked.

Hence, the collective grief that was displayed is most likely a spontaneous one and not deliberately done in violation of the strict restrictions and health regulations imposed on the mourners.

But one cannot be blind to the fact that there was an islandwide curfew in force especially with a view to rein in the large crowds gathering at any place. There was also the uncalled for conduct on the part of a senior official of the late Minister’s Trade Union who reportedly berated one of the country’s highest ranking health officials for restricting the gathering at the funeral by his guidelines and imposing of the curfew. Now Public Health Inspectors (PHIs) have threatened legal action against the organizers should there be even a single detection of the Coronavirus among the crowd.

The Government is going to great lengths and is at great pains and even taking unpopular decisions in an all out attempt to combat the pandemic amidst claims by the health authorities, including the GMOA, that a second wave could be a real possibility.

An islandwide curfew was imposed the other day to coincide with the recent Ramazan festival and now Poson, one of the sacred landmark events for Buddhists, is going to be held under a blanket curfew as was the case with Vesak and Easter Sunday. There were also strict instructions relayed to the public on the numbers permitted to attend funerals and limitations with regard to the final rites and almsgivings.

These guidelines needless to say are meant to be applied across the board and to all people and communities if we are to prevent a resurgence of the pandemic in our midst. Some cannot be more equal than others.

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