Corona Virus infection update in Sri Lanka-by Dr Harold Gunatillake

Dr Harold


Whilst the global statistics for morbidity and mortality for the corona virus is on the increase, it is heartening to observe a developing country like the island of Sri Lanka’s measures, to minimize the spread of the disease, has been a great success and a model

The latest global statistics reveal that the number of countries and territories where coronavirus (Covid-19) infections have been reported has reached 115, with Panama and Mongolia reporting their first cases Tuesday. The number of overall corona cases globally has passed 116,000, and the number of global deaths has passed 4,000.
However, not everything is bleak: for the first time since the outbreak started, the
number of new daily cases in China fell below 50.
Sri Lanka, that little island in the Indian Ocean, with a population of over 20 million people, since January till now only 144 cases have proved having the virus. Only three deaths have been notified so far. The third death 72 year old man, occurred as an inpatient being treated at the infectious Disease Hospital in Angod. 

Sri Lanka, dubbed as the pearl of the Indian ocean, is a very famous tropical destination among thousands. The island nation ranked as the number 01 tourist destination by lonely planet.
So, how did they curtail the spread of the virus with such astounding results in a
pandemic situation, and that’s what we are going to talk about.
Sri Lankan health system has both public and private health care sectors. The public health system is free for all citizens. Going hand in hand, Sri Lanka has a free education system until graduate school for the last 60 years. Thanks to the free education system.

Talking about myself, I had free education in a government school from the kindergarten till I graduated from the Ceylon Medical faculty. Not only that, the government sent me to UK. on a scholarship for further studies and fellowship exam.

Aren’t we all lucky to be born in Ceylon, now called Sri Lanka.Sri Lanka has trained thousands of well-qualified healthcare professionals and paramedical workforce for many decades through 9 well regulated and state of the art medical faculties covering all regions of the country. And, all free of charge. The doctors and paramedical staff receive post-graduate training and continuous medical education throughout their career.
Coronavirus threat
Since the origin of the novel coronavirus in Wuhan Sri Lankan authorities started to take vigilance in stopping the potential danger. The military forces and the national intelligence service was put on high alert. The government created specialized aviation and border control expert teams, to track the movement of all inbound tourists and with a potential threat.

The first detected case of the corona virus infection was on a Chinese woman who arrived in Sri Lanka on the 19th January. Passing through the thermal scanners at the airport, she was confirmed having the coronavirus.
She was promptly admitted to the infectious disease Hospital in Colombo and was discharged after being fully cured. She was given a mighty welcome, by the Minister of Health visiting the hospital, on the day she was discharged.
So, Sri Lanka’s first case was well handled and there wasn’t any spread of the disease at that stage.
On 3 March 2020, the first reported case involving a Sri Lankan origin outside Sri Lanka was reported in Italy. As of 23 March 2020, 45 quarantine centres were opened in the country by the Sri Lanka Army as a preventive measure to tackle the  coronavirus pandemic.[11] Nearly 3500 people have been under quarantine in 45 quarantine centres which also include 31 foreigners from 14 countries.[12]
As of 25th March 2020 Sri Lankan authorities have tracked down over 14000 people who had contacted the identified patients and had ordered self quarantine for such people.
A 22-member National Action Committee was set up by the ministry to prevent the spread of coronavirus in Sri Lanka. The Department of Immigration and Emigration also informed all construction sites with Chinese resident visa holders to restrict their Chinese employees to their respective workplaces and lodgings.
33 Sri Lankan students and families were evacuated from Wuhan on 1 February and they were brought back to the country at government expense at Sri Lankan government expense, and kept under Quarantine at a Military facility at Diyatalawa.
They were released after two weeks quarantine period on 14 February Since the first week of March, passengers coming from Italy, Iran, or South Korea have been required to be quarantined for two weeks at one of two facilities. On 10 March, 186 people, out of which (164 Sri Lankan nationals, 20 Italian nationals and 2 South Korean nationals) were placed under quarantine in Batticaloa. On 10 March 2020, 2 Sri Lankan origins living in United Arab Emirates reported with coronavirus cases were identified
So, you will see that prompt action taken by the government curtailed the spread of the infection in that little island.

Read More →

The new JobKeeper wage subsidy package

Source:Tax & Super Australia


The government announced at the end of March a further massive subsidy for businesses to help them retain employees so they are ready to get back to business when the current coronavirus issues subside. The new subsidy is called a JobKeeper payment.

The key things to note about this are:

The payment will be made to eligible employers for eligible employees. The payment will be $1,500 per fortnight per employee for a period of six months. It will be paid in respect of full time and part time employees who were employed as at 1 March 2020. Also, casual employees will be eligible if they have been with their employer on a regular basis for at least the previous 12 months as at 1 March 2020.
The employees must continue to be engaged by the business. If an employee has been stood down or has had their employment terminated, they can still be eligible. If an employee’s employment has been terminated, the employee must be re-engaged by the business.
Not all employers are eligible for the payment. A business will be eligible:
If the business has a turnover of less than $1 billion and its turnover will be reduced by more than 30% relative to a comparable period a year ago, of at least one month; or
If the business has a turnover of $1 billion or more and its turnover will be reduced by more than 50% relative to a comparable period a year ago, of at least one month; and
If the business is not subject to the Major Bank Levy.
Employers must elect to receive the JobKeeper payment and provide supporting information. This can be done through the ATO website.
Employers must report the number of eligible employees employed by the business on a monthly basis.

Read More →

‘Business hibernation only option to save struggling businesses’

Source: Publicaccountant

The government is due to announce its third stimulus under which it will seek to “hibernate” businesses to help them re-establish and rehire once the coronavirus pandemic has passed.

Business hibernation

Addressing media on Friday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said, “Part of that plan that we will be announcing will be to seek to hibernate Australian businesses.”

“We want these businesses to effectively go into hibernation, which means on the other side, the employees come back, the opportunities come back, the economy comes back,” he said.

Applauding his announcement, the small business ombudsman Kate Carnell said that the only way for small businesses to survive the coming months is if they can effectively hit pause for the time being.

Read More →

Mental health in a roving workforce


Making staff

Making staff wellbeing a priority is a mark of all good organisations, and part of that is regular communication around relevant issues.

Helen Hawkes

by Helen Hawkes

Remote working presents a raft of upsides: cost savings, increased productivity and reduced absenteeism. But in the age of telecommuting, is emotional intelligence the first casualty?

Remote working is a growing trend we’ve been seeing in the global workforce, even before staff were recently asked to work from home.

In 2018, 68 per cent of Australian employers allowed employees to telecommute, according to a survey by Censuswide on behalf of Indeed.

It found substantial advantages to remote working, including more productive employees (67 per cent), reduced absenteeism and employee turnover (57 per cent), and operational cost savings (51 per cent).

Read More →

What did people do before toilet paper? – BY ERIN BLAKEMORE

toilet paper

The mass production of toilet paper began in the U.S. in 1857, but humans around the world have employed a variety of other methods for bathroom visits over the ages.

SOURCE:-National Geographic

In a time of panicked pandemic buying, it can be tempting to think back to a time of abundant toilet paper supplies—or to wonder how people used to wipe in the age before 24-packs of extra-soft three-ply sheets. Hundreds of millions of people around the world today, particularly in the Middle East and Asia, don’t even bother with the stuff, preferring instead to finish their bathroom visit with a clean rinse of water. But archaeologists and anthropologists have done plenty of interesting dirty work as they document how people wiped themselves in other cultures back in the day.

If you relieved yourself in a public latrine in ancient Rome, you may have used a tersorium to wipe. These ancient devices consisted of a stick with a vinegar- or salt water-soaked sponge attached. They are mentioned throughout Roman literature, including a gruesomely unforgettable passage in a letter by the philosopher Seneca to Roman official Lucilius that relates the suicide of a German gladiator who shoved a stick tipped with a sponge “devoted to the vilest uses” down his throat rather than head into the arena to die by wild animal.

bathroom facilities

According to ancient sources, Romans used a sponge-topped stick called a tersorium (modern replica above). Archaeologists aren’t quite sure, however, whether it was used to clean the bathroom facilities or the user of those facilities.

Read More →



Photo Source:NewsWeek

Joe Van Langenberg

Napoleon Bonaparte was one of the, if not the greatest French emperor who ever lived. He was also the one who so famously said thus: ”The word impossible can be found only in the dictionary of fools”.

Napoleon’s inspirational quote has proved to be spot-on; as evidenced in the case of 07-year-old Noah Wall; a boy who made his initial foray into the world, with only two percent of his brain intact.

The rest of his grey matter was obliterated, as a consequence of his head filling up with excessive fluid, leaving his head swollen & his life hanging precariously in the balance. Noah’s grief-stricken mother Shelley was repeatedly cautioned to terminate her son’s pregnancy in 2012, given the disconcerting fact, that Noah’s head had been expanding to dangerous proportions. Nonetheless, she hoped for a favourable upshot, while simultaneously bracing herself for the worst case scenario.

Read More →


A Missive from Oscar E V Fernando – HOPE FOR HUMANITY

Oscar Fernando


-Quote by Aung San Suu Kyi

I think, if you have enough inner resources, then you can live in isolation for long periods of time and not feel diminished by it.

-Poem on Meditation by OEVF

Be still and know that I AM God, said He.

Seek me first for you and I are Eternity.

Seek within-you will find me in stillness.

Then you know you are well within wholeness.

You will not clasp Him-till death you depart.

But nearer the clasp, you feel well in your heart

You saw Him-and came from Him, to your mother’s womb

You will search for Him till you rest in your tomb.

That’s what the sculptor, painter, artist the singer does.

Searching the Perfect with talents they possess.

Search till you are no more-for then, Him you will see.

Yes, all will see Him-the good the bad and the ugly.

Choose at all times the right thing in life to do.

For only then, after life, you see Glory through and through.

If the wrong thing is willed and done in this life,

Being damned, you see no more of Beauty even in strife.

Seeing Him for ever in death is what is called heaven

For ‘tis the design when you first came down from heaven.

Not seeing Perfect Beauty forever-is that you are damned.

Hell the reward as with sin, this life you have shammed.

In meditation and seeking deep within,

His spark you will see-the Kingdom of God therein.

More you seek the spark the closer to divine you become.

Till you are a wonder to the world around.

Meditation! ‘tis no selfish exercise!

For that spark of the Divine will make you clever and wise.

What and where is this wisdom thy lament?

Seek God within-call Him what you will-to wisdom you relent.

Divine Intelligence within makes you love neighbor as self.

For wisdom speaks loud to go to your neighbors help.

Wisdom will dawn to him that dwells within.

In meditation you will hear Wisdom’s voice ringing.

In wisdom you know the reality of self.

Why you are on earth you will know in stealth.

For one purpose alone you are here on earth behold,

And that is to know to love and to serve God we are told.

Serving God is to serve your neighbor.

The void of life is filled when you do your neighbor’s labor.

Love your neighbor as thyself-said He.

Wisdom prompts to love self and then feel free.

Meditate to get closer to God and be still.

For then you will know that which He wills.

That you do in concert with your will.

Do this-Lo and behold your needs will be filled.


-The writer can guide on a simple technique of meditation if requests are made to eLanka on email  


Read More →


A dispatch from the home front

A dispatch from the home front

Photo Source: Food Personality

On march 13th Alan Jope, boss of Unilever, a consumer-goods conglomerate that makes everything from Dove soap to Knorr soup, ordered the firm’s 60,000 office workers in all countries bar China to work from home. The 56-year-old Scot took a train to Edinburgh where he joined his family. Sitting in his study, he recently spoke to Schumpeter via an online video-chat that he uses to run a business empire. In a world gone awry, it all felt rather normal. Mr Jope, in his habitual casual garb, looked relaxed. Despite the gravity of the covid-19 pandemic, remote working is “dead easy”, he says; without commuting, he has more time to liaise with underlings around the world.

That is good news, and not just for Unilever. Since January the company has been on the front line of the covid-19 outbreak. As one of the world’s biggest consumer-goods firms, it sells food, hygiene products and other more or less essential staples to 2.5bn customers in 190 countries. Without continued availability of its wares the pandemic’s toll would almost certainly be even greater.

Read More →


The Sri Lankan Settlers of Thursday Island – By Stanley J. Sparkes and Anna Shnukal

The dismantling of the White Australia Policy in the early 1970s, allied with periodic civil strife in their homeland, brought significant numbers of Sri Lankan immigrants to Australia. Few Australians, however, are aware that, a century before, hundreds of mostly male ‘Cingalese’ (as Sri Lankans were then called),2 mainly from the southern coastal districts of Galle and Matara in the British colony of Ceylon, came as labourers to the British colony of Queensland.3 The first of these arrived independently in the 1870s to join the Torres Strait pearling fleets, but larger numbers were brought to Queensland a decade later as indentured (contract) seamen on Thursday Island and, shortly thereafter, as farm workers for the cane fields around Mackay and Bundaberg, where many of their descendants still live. The arrival of the first batch of 25 indentured Sri Lankan seamen on Thursday Island in 1882 coincided with the importation of ‘Malays’ and Japanese. Yet, unlike the latter, comparatively little
has been published on their origins, lives and destinies, nor their contributions to the business, social and cultural life of Thursday Island. Some of those first arrivals demonstrated a remarkable entrepreneurial flair, taking up employment as ‘watermen’ (boatmen), ferrying passengers and cargo from ship to shore and subsequently taking out licences as small businessmen: boarding-house keepers, billiard-room proprietors, shopkeepers, pawnbrokers, boat-owners, gem and curio hawkers and commercial fishermen.
They were joined by professional jewellers, part of the Sri Lankan gem-trade diaspora into the islands of South-East Asia during the last decade of the 19th century. Although never as numerous as some other Thursday Island Asian communities, the Sri Lankans were perceived as a distinctive group and inhabited a recognised ‘Cingalese quarter’: a cluster of buildings — boarding house, billiard room, store and dwelling houses — located at the eastern end of Victoria Street. Religious life was centred on the Buddhist temple. Yet, after two decades, only 20 individuals remained. The decision to leave was influenced by economic difficulties in the marine industries and, it is said, increasing uneasiness among community members who feared the confiscation of their assets and either internment in or expulsion from a newly federated Australia.4 Most of them, however, did not return to their homes in Sri Lanka but took their skills, experience and newly acquired capital to Singapore, Malaysia,
Indonesia and other parts of South-East Asia.5

First Arrivals

Sri Lankan seamen joined hundreds of other outsiders in the Torres Strait pearl rush of the 1870s. One independent arrival was the seaman, James, who, with three others, was engaged by Police Magistrate H. M. Chester on Thursday Island on 31 May, 1879, to travel south to Brisbane and bring back the Government schooner, Pearl. His monthly wages were specified as £3.10 but, reliable crewmen being hard to procure at that time, Chester was obliged to give him £1 to secure the contract.6 He may be the enterprising James Appu De Silva, who, in 1885, ran the Cingalese boarding house and went on to establish several other businesses. Another independent arrival was Assan Ceylon, who told an inquiry in 1901 that he had been diving in Torres Strait since about 1879.7 James and Assan Ceylon may have been among the 20 Sri Lankans who, by 1882, were already living in Queensland and who found the place to be ‘quite satisfactory’.8 There are also oral accounts from Torres Strait Islanders and Papua New Guineans claiming Sri Lankan connections that predate the arrival of the first indentured seamen. One was the husband of Konai from Erub (Darnley Island). His name is forgotten, but he is said to have fathered three daughters, Morabisi, Sophie and Balo, born on Erub in the 1870s.9 Another may have been the diver, Yusuf (known locally as John Joseph Bombay).10

Read More →