As couples do all over the world, Darshana Kumara Wijenarayana and his fiance, Pawani Rasanga, spent months planning a grand wedding. And everything was on course for the Sri Lankan couple — until the coronavirus struck the island nation off India’s southern tip, leading to an indefinite lockdown.
“By that time, we had made all the arrangements. Clothes, rings and cakes had been ordered. The reception hall was booked. We had planned to invite 250 guests,” Darshana told The Associated Press by phone from his home in Malimbada, a small town about 160 kilometers (100 miles) south of the capital Colombo.
Family and friends urged them to postpone their April 27 wedding.
Instead, the couple chose to celebrate their love by feeding the poor.
The first COVID-19 patient in Sri Lanka was a Chinese tourist who fell sick in January during her vacation. She was discharged in February.
Until the first week of March, there was little panic about the disease. Then on March 11, the first Sri Lankan — a tour guide — tested positive for the virus, triggering fear and the closure of schools and universities and many businesses.
The ongoing curfew has curbed the spread of the virus, but also dealt a severe blow to many who survive on a daily wage.