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Defence Ministry refutes allegations on Navy covering up coronavirus information

May 12, 2020

The Defence Ministry strongly denies allegations by some media against the Sri Lanka Navy (SLN) that it refrains from providing information about sailors, who are infected with coronavirus, to health authorities.

Since the identification of SLN’s first coronavirus-infected naval person on April 22, the Navy has been expanded PCR tests for naval personnel who are performing duties at the Welisara Naval Complex.

 Defence Secretary Maj. Gen. (Retd) Kamal Gunaratne categorically refuting accusations by certain electronic and print media that the SLN is covering up the real situation related to spread of the coronavirus within the SLN, said the Tri-Forces including the SLN were maintaining a strict transparent process of disseminating information on coronavirus infected military personnel and the testing process.

While contract tracing is in process, the SLN personnel, who have been identified as coronavirus positives through PCR tests, are being sent to hospitals for treatment.

However, from the inception of  identifying coronavirus positives from the Welisara Naval Complex, the SLN had taken all required precautionary measures to contain the spread of the virus following the recommendations of Deputy Director General of Public Health Services Dr. Paba Palihawadana, a group of officers including a specialist in infectious diseases from the Ministry of Health Dr. Thilanga Pathirana and an officer from the Regional Directorate of Health of Gampaha, who inspected the Naval Complex.

The SLN has also sought medical advice from the Gampaha Regional Directorate of Health while the government-trained SLN’s Public Health Inspectors are also stationed in the Naval Complex to handle the related tasks.

The information on PCR tests done on naval personnel, including all the details of both positive and negative cases, has been duly submitted to the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, office of the Director General of Health Services, Directorates of Health Services in all districts and the Sri Lanka Police by the SLN.

“The SLN has been following all the necessary communication with the health and other responsible authorities on reporting its situation regarding the coronavirus infected sailors and the testing process,” the Defence Secretary said.

He said the SLN, as a responsible government organization, was strongly committed to submit the all information about sailors, who had been tested and infected with the coronavirus, to the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, office of the Deputy Director General of Public Health Services, District Health Service offices and the responsible government authorities, to support the government mechanism to contain the spread of coronavirus.

Maj. Gen. Gunaratne, while commending the support given by the SLN to prevent spreading the virus, stressed that the SLN would not hide any information regarding coronavirus infection within the SLN.

 

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