Economic activities continue amidst lockdown | Daily News

Economic activities continue amidst lockdown

A relentless effort by essential workers
People queue up for vaccination at a centre run by the Army
People queue up for vaccination at a centre run by the Army

Although the Quarantine Curfew is in effect, the country has not come to a standstill thanks to the 24/7 efforts of essential workers who have taken an enormous risk amidst the contagion.

The credit should first go to the Security Forces and healthcare workers who have been engaged in the vaccination drive non-stop, even to the extent of going to the residences of over 60s who have mobility issues. The vaccination programme has now been extended to the 18-30 age group, perhaps the most economically productive segment of the population. The health services also continued PCR and Rapid Antigen testing. There is also no bar to those travelling for vaccination and testing.

Despite the ongoing curfew, cleaning and sanitation staffers of all local bodies have been working round the clock to keep our cities and towns clean. Theirs is a thankless service, often underappreciated. Again, they too face an immense risk from COVID, but they have not shirked their responsibility one bit.

Farmers and traders are also active amidst the curfew, so that food deliveries can be maintained. The Economic Centres were kept open on selected days to facilitate wholesale trade. This ensured that farmers could sell their produce without incurring any losses and distributors too could buy stocks for the home delivery services. The Government has announced that farming activities can continue unhindered even amidst the curfew, along with industries such as apparel.

Unfortunately, some unscrupulous traders had resorted to hoarding rice and sugar stocks to gain an undue advantage in the prevailing situation. But the Government quickly stepped in to raid these warehouses and release these stocks to Sathosa outlets. We must be grateful to the employees of Sathosa from loading workers to truck drivers to sales assistants, for ensuring that people get access to foodstuffs and other essentials at controlled prices. They too have taken the risk of working amidst the pandemic. People were seen gathered outside Sathosa outlets to buy their provisions without any hassle. A few other private sector supermarkets were also kept open for the convenience of customers, apart from fulfilling online orders.

Other essential services too are working 24/7 for the convenience of the people who are enduring a lockdown. All fuel stations are open to ensure a steady supply of fuel. Employees in water, electricity, telephone, postal, banking and other utility sectors are working uninterrupted during the Quarantine Curfew to deliver their services.

A collective effort from all these personnel has ensured that the wheels of the economy keep turning even amidst the pandemic-induced Quarantine Curfew. From the Police and Army personnel manning the checkpoints to mobile vendors coming to our homes with fresh produce, they all have sacrificed their safety to ensure our safety from the virus. One day when the pandemic is firmly behind us, whole chapters will be written about their relentless efforts and sense of civic responsibility in the history books. For now, we have to be thankful to each and every one of them for doing their best for us in a dangerous situation.

(Pictures by Dushmantha Mayadunne, Hirantha Gunathilaka and Sudath Malaweera)

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