Presidential Secretariat of Sri Lanka

Our health service capable of controlling COVID with peoples’ support – President

 Media responsible and duty bound to educate the public

 People must adhere to health guidelines

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa said that the health sector of the country is capable of controlling the COVID- 19 pandemic and what is needed is the support of the people.

COVID pandemic is a “health” issue. The responsibility of protecting people against the virus and steering the country forward lies with the health sector and the Government. President said that he strongly believes that Sri Lankan doctors and the health sector, one of the best in the world can easily achieve the target.

President made these remarks during the daily discussion with the members of the Task Force on COVID Prevention held at the Presidential Secretariat today (9).

“We have 3 options in the face of the spread of the pandemic. The first is to lock down the entire country by imposing curfew. The second is not to do anything. Carrying our normal activities while controlling the disease is the third option and we opted for that”, President added.

“Our doctors and the hospital staff were able to diagnose COVID infected in the first stage and treat them accordingly. Therefore, intensive care services were not required. People must also extend their support in controlling the spread of the disease and preventing infection. President reiterated that media are responsible and duty bound to communicate health guidelines that need to be followed to the general public”.

“Following the successful containment of the virus before media as well as the people have forgotten everything and shirked responsibility. The result is the current situation. The country cannot remain closed until the pandemic is wiped out from the world. We have to understand the ground reality and act accordingly. Infected persons are reported daily even from areas that have been closed for nearly 40 days. This shows that the pandemic cannot be controlled by lock down alone”, President said.

“Closing down the country is the easiest solution. But people have to live. It is my responsibility to keep the economy going while ensuring all the activities including employment, agriculture and fishing move forward. The daily expenditure by the Government to conduct PCR tests exceeds Rs. 60 million. Huge sum of money is spent daily on the entire process including quarantine. It is a „personal responsibility‟ of the people to comprehend this situation and avoid falling prey to the disease”, President noted.

Ministers Pavithra Wanniarachchi, Keheliya Rambukwella, Member of Parliament Madura Vithanage, Secretary to the President P. B. Jayasundera, Principal Advisor to the President Lalith Weeratunga and members of the Task Force were present during the discussion.