Omar Khan

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Postcard from Sri Lanka

by Omar Khan Sri Lanka opted to throw nuance to the wind and go for an outright 24/7 multi-month curfew. Announced with mere hours of notice, it threw everyone into desperate pandemonium. Touted originally as a “weekend curfew”, when it was extended and then briefly relaxed it had people desperate to get essentials, with open-air markets here resembling a COVID-19 petri dish. Then, four days after it was first instituted, it went back on, and has not been fully lifted as of today, May 24th, though it has been relaxed in the last few weeks. Essentially, however, from March 20th the entire economic engine came to a screeching halt, imposing grotesque suffering on the daily wage-earners (roughly 40% of the economy) and the SMEs, except for those who were able to get into the business of delivering essentials, which later came to include Big Macs from McDonalds and birthday cakes, lest the elite be too troubled by any of this. At the time of the curfew, Lanka had 66 cases of Covid-19, with seven fatalities. One month on, post curfew, there have been 271 cases and… wait for it… seven fatalities! But rather than throwing a success party, the authorities decided to double down, even though it was now clear that the healthcare system wasn’t being overwhelmed and that the...

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May 2024
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