The Global Response to Infectious Diseases [GRID] index was introduced based on a research study commissioned by the Institute of Certified Management Accountants, Australia. The index was created to rank countries across the globe taking into account the effectiveness and efficiency of leadership and preparedness of health systems in each country in managing the COVID-19 pandemic (D’Souza, 2020). In April 2020 Sri Lanka ranked 10th in the GRID index thus, achieving global recognition for its response to the pandemic (D’Souza, 2020). This paper provides an analysis of Sri Lanka’s response to the 1st wave of COVID-19, particularly focusing on three aspects: 1) trends and impacts; 2) risk governance and 3) science policy interaction. In exploring the trends and impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak in the country, the present paper discusses the health and socio-economic impacts and how these impacts were reported. With regard to the aspect of risk governance, attention has been paid to the manner in which risk knowledge, risk assessment, communication and advocacy and monitoring with early warning were utilized in managing the pandemic situation in the country. Further, the aspect of science policy interaction has been examined with reference to the way science and expertise were mobilized for decision-making and the data and evidences-related challenges faced in countering the virus outbreak in the country. The main objective of the present paper is to provide insights to national policy-makers on the way COVID-19 affected Sri Lanka, and how the crisis was managed and governed.