A surging crisis in Sri Lanka

Over the last few months, the world has watched India struggle through an unimaginable COVID-19 situation – over the first half of 2021, the pandemic’s second wave wreaked havoc on the country’s fragile health sector, bringing it repeatedly to the brink of collapse.

This prompted analysts to term the situation in India a ticking time bomb for the whole South Asian region. One country that has seen this play out in a large second wave is the war-ravaged and economically burdened Sri Lanka.

Although authorities introduced stricter guidelines in response, banning weddings and religious gatherings among other restrictions, officials became locked in a tussle over whether to impose ‘complete’ lockdown or ‘partial’ lockdown.

In the end, Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa ended up rejecting both options, citing economic complications. Since then, weak pseudo-lockdowns have been repeatedly imposed and withdrawn on Sri Lanka, with new cases reaching more than 3,000 a day by early June.