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The Coronavirus Diaries: 'Daily Numbers are Shocking'

The Coronavirus Diaries: 'Daily Numbers are Shocking'

Wednesday June 23

The Rev Saman Perera writes from Sri Lanka, which is battling a devastating third wave of the virus.


Greetings from Kandy, Sri Lanka!

I trust very much that you are keeping well and safe as we are going through a challenging epoch in human history. But at the same time those who have thought differently, have made the best use of the time, for all preparations for the future. Further, we have also become experts in virtual communication, thanks to Zoom.

Looking back, it seems Europe and USA started with shocking numbers of infections but gradually they have managed the pandemic to a creditable level and now they are progressive in their vaccination programmes. In contrast we in Asia, particularly South Asia, started well, but amidst the third wave completely collapsed. We are unable to cope with the rising numbers, and the death toll is drastically intensifying as we are without proper treatment facilities. India is a classic example of what I am trying to say.

Sri Lanka also managed pretty well during the first and second waves but now we are facing the third wave, and all have succumbed with fear and anxiety. Daily numbers are shocking and the spreading ratio is alarming. All are susceptible unless you are at home without any sort of exposure. How is this possible for the people who are on daily wages and self-help or income generation activities? They must find some means to nurture their families and dependents.

According to trustworthy sources, the public is not getting the correct records and most information is 4-5 days old and in some instances, there are manipulations in the numbers too. They are not telling the exact death toll and infection, as the authorities have to take the remedial steps, which they are not in a position to address.

Hospitals and quarantine camps are overflowing and there is not adequate numbers of ICU beds, ventilators, PCR testing facilities, and so on. Yet due to political and economic reasons, the government is not going for total lockdown. So far, they are able to vaccinate only 1.5% of the population and still we do not know when we are going to get the vaccine and which vaccine we are going to get. They started with the Indian vaccine but apparently India has stopped giving it to other countries due to intensified need within India itself, and now we are looking for Chinese and Russian vaccines.  

As a church, we gathered together for worship on the last 26th of April and until to date we  have not had our Sunday mass at the church. We give thanks  for WhatsApp, as every Sunday I have been uploading prayers, Scripture reading and message as an audio file and people have listened. Although one or two persons are looking forward to having Sunday Services via Zoom or MS Teams, I doubt that it will eliminate the considerable segment of the population who are without smartphones and data. I try to bring a solution that could be a benefit to all.

As a church. we are continuing with monthly support for 30 families who are badly affected due to the travel restrictions. Most of them are labourers on daily wages and self-help and they are highly frustrated without proper means of survival. As they are with their extended families, some of their aged parents or grandparents are struggling to get their medicines. They do not have any retirement benefit, neither social security nor insurance that could assist them in their vulnerability.

Our family have gone through a self-quarantine period of 14 days and we are pretty sure the symptoms we experienced and the after-effects are of the virus. We did not go for a test as they are sending all positive persons to medical camps which could be throwing you into further danger. 

Although Tharuka (our eldest son) planned to have his wedding last May, we have postponed it until the government lift the ban on having wedding functions. There is no chance to have any church service. He, Dhammi (my wife) and Devaka (our youngest son) continue their work online. I too am very much restricted with my travel and most meetings are on virtual platforms. This time allowed me to finish some of the liturgies for the use of member churches of the Presbytery, now I am working on the constitution of the Presbytery. I try to use my time effectively but sometimes the lethargic atmosphere overrides me, as I am a person use to travelling and engaging with communities and field activities. We are continuing with all our outreach ministries and trying our best to keep them intact.

One thing we know: that God who calls us to continue his work is faithful and he will sustain us together with his guidance, providence and grace. May the blessings of God almighty be with all of you and keep you under his wings. Thank you.


The Rev Saman Perera is Moderator of the Presbytery of Lanka and minister-in-charge at Scot’s Kirk, Kandy


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The Coronavirus Diaries: reflections from Church of Scotland partners around the world

Jerusalem: Virtual Prisoners
Bangladesh: We Will Survive by the Grace of God
Nepal: Exhausting and Often Heartbreaking
Malawi: God Has Been Faithful to Us
France: Thankful For What I Have
India: Love Your Neighbours
A Nigerian in Scotland: Alone But Not Lonely
Taiwan: When We Work Together, We Achieve the Best Results
Hungary: We Mourn Each Loss
Zambia: Preparing for the Vaccine, and a Third Wave
World Communion of Reformed Churches: The 'Covid and Beyond' Church
Pakistan: Passing the Light
Lebanon: The Lord Will Not Forsake Us
South Korea: 'It is Time For Christians to Hear the Marginalised'
Cuba: Keep Moving On
Canada: Cracks Have Been Exposed
Kenya: Leave No Child Behind
USA: Homes of Prayer
Mozambique: Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread
A Spaniard in Scotland: The Power of Movement
South Sudan: Being Positive
A Nigerian in Scotland: God is in Charge
Trinidad and Tobago: New Frontiers
Czech Republic: A Challenge for Everybody
Switzerland: An Outpouring of Solidarity and Creativity
The West Bank: A Landscape of Broken Dreams
Nepal: So Many Premature Goodbyes
Malawi: We Must Hold Each Other Close
Nigeria: A Fresh Spiritual Connectedness
Egypt: 'This Is A Time To Witness God'
Guyana: The Strength of our Connectedness
South Korea: A Harsh Reality
Zimbabwe: Convenience or a Wake-up Call?
Sri Lanka: Service is the Highest Form of Worship
USA: Testing Positive
Portugal: The Mission of the Church Has Not Changed
World Council of Churches: A New Dawn is Upon us
Hungary: Physically Distant but Close in Spirit
A German in Scotland: Something New Has Already Begun
Myanmar: We Will Overcome this Hardship
Ghana: This Too Shall Pass
Brazil: The Least We Can Do
Kenya: Caring for One Another in Christ
An Indian in Germany: A Time of Enrichment
Argentina: Time in Between
Malawi: 'My identity in Christ remains unchanged'
Jerusalem: Being Rather than Doing
Malawi: No Lockdown and an Election
Zambia: 'I will never leave you... or forsake you'
Czech Republic: The Covid Cover-up
Zambia: 'All Life is Sacred'
Israel/Palestine: 'The Air is Clear'
Nepal: 'Please Pray for Us'
Malawi: Tough Dilemmas
Italy: 'Together, We Will Get Through It'