Here in New Zealand, we are back at being stuck indoors, feeling tired, anxious and frustrated. Prime Minister Jacinda Arden announced on 17th August 2021 that New Zealand will be moving to alert level 4 as a result of detecting a Covid-19 positive case on the community in Auckland and the country has been in lockdown ever since.
The outbreak which started with one positive case has now grown to a total of 562 cases, with 547 of those in Auckland and 15 in Wellington. Of the community cases, 37 are in hospital, including five in a stable condition in intensive care. Last Friday, Prime Minister Jacinda Arden announced that everywhere south of the Auckland-Waikato border will be moving to alert level 3 from 31st August at 11.59 PM, while Auckland and Northland would remain in alert level 4 for at least two more weeks.
Amidst alert level 4 restrictions, the government is progressing with the vaccine rollout all over the country with more than 1 million of both the doses of Pfizer vaccine being administered to date – 2.17 million being first doses and 1.16 million being second doses.
While it is unsure of a time for New Zealand to go back to its corona free days, they appear to be taking the required precautions and taking necessary steps in controlling the outbreak.
However, the same cannot be predicted about our home country, Sri Lanka. For many Sri Lankans, all news reports about Covid-19 cases and deaths that were just numbers for so long are now gradually turning into names of loved ones and friends. Last Friday more than 4500 Covid-19 positive cases and 212 Covid-19 deaths were reported. With these new reports, Sri Lanka’s Covid fatality count has exceeded 8500 and as per the Worldometer website, there is a 17% increase each week in the country’s death rate.
The government enforced an island-wide quarantine curfew on 20th August and it has been extended until 6th September 2021. However, there has not been a clear decline in numbers even with a curfew in place.
On a positive note, It is reported that Sri Lanka has administered over 7 million doses of coronavirus vaccines with about 60% of the total population above 30 administered with two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine. Sri Lankan health minister Keheliya Rambukwella has said that the representatives of the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF have commended the vaccination process in Sri Lanka.