As you already know, the Novel Coronavirus, or COVID-19 pandemic has taken over the entire world now, which has halted day-to-day activities of over 170 countries. At the time of writing, there have been 66,542 deaths and 1,225,360 confirmed cases, out of which 252,615 patients have recovered. Even though the mortality rate is seemingly lower, it is imperative that we do whatever we can to curb the spread of the virus and contain it until a proper cure is established.
Almost all of the countries were infected by travelers from some of the hardest hit countries like China and Italy; some did not know they were infected and carried about their day as usual, and some knew they should be quarantined but still chose not to. As travelers, it is our responsibility to take great care not to hurt, not only ourselves, but also others, wherever we go. We at Sri Lankan Guideline are here to safely guide you through this difficult time.
1. Stay Home.
Travel can wait. Stay home, or hotel, or Airbnb, wherever you are staying.
2. Practice Social Distancing.
Beer with your friends, anniversary dinner date, weddings, can wait. Postpone whatever events or plans you have, and stay home. If your loved ones live away from you, you have the internet to keep up with them (phone calls, video calls, texts).
3. Wash Your Hands.
Thoroughly wash your hands with soap at least once every 30 minutes. Stop constantly touching of face, eyes, and nose. Use hand sanitizer whenever you don’t have access to soap and water.
4. Outside? Wear Masks and Stay 5 Feet Apart.
If you ever, EVER, have to go to a public place for any reason, wear a mask, and preferably gloves. Keep a distance of at least 5 feet (or 1 meter) from others.
5. Stranded in Sri Lanka?
If you are stranded in Sri Lanka without a tour guide or agency, call your embassy. You can always find relevant contact details on the Internet. Also, tourist visas have been extended until 12th May, 2020, by the Department of Immigration and Emigration of Sri Lanka (source).
6. Get Essentials Delivered to You.
Many local vendors have facilitated delivery of day-to-day essentials such as food and sanitary items right to your doorstep. Make sure you ask for contactless delivery or minimize interaction with the delivery person as much as possible. You can find a full list of vendors on the websites below:
In addition to that, UberEats and PickMe apps deliver groceries and food, but mostly in greater Colombo area and suburbs.
7. If You Think You Are Sick…
If you suspect that you are sick, if you are showing any of the symptoms of COVID-19, do not panic. Stay right where you are, isolate yourself from any other people at home, and call 1990 from any local network to get in touch with the Suwa Seriya free ambulance service. Explain your symptoms and your location to them and they will come to take you to the nearest hospital. Sri Lanka is known as one of the best healthcare systems in all of Asia. So, fear not, you will be in safe hands.
8. Keep Yourself Informed.
Try to be informed on the latest updates about the situation. It’s best to know about the curfew times, areas currently on lockdown, and where clusters are found. @AzzamAmeen, @TeamWatchDog, @adaderana on Twitter are great sources for the latest and verified local news updates. You can also get the WatchDog Sri Lanka app on your phone.
For worldwide updates, you can follow international news channels like BBC (@BBCWorld), CNN (@CNN, @cnnbrk), etc. If you’d like to keep track of the number of global infections, this world map provided by John Hopkins University COVID-19 Resource Center, is a great source of information.
To sum up, take care of yourself while you’re in isolation/quarantine. If you are anxious, try to keep yourself busy: take up a hobby, do some DIY crafts, take up an online course, read books/blogs, watch movies, listen to music. Stay put, stay safe, be informed. Let’s focus on the beautiful adventures waiting for you after these trying times.