July 16, 2020
President Gotabaya Rajapaksa pledged that all measures would be undertaken to protect people from the spread of the Coronavirus pandemic and all efforts would be directed at eradicating the virus from the country.
He stressed this addressing members of the Presidential Task Force established to combat COVID – 19 in Sri Lanka at the Presidential Secretariat on Tuesday (July 14).
The Presidential Task Force to combat COVID – 19 in Sri Lanka, was convened to access the current situation that has transpired following the recent spike of Coronavirus cases from the Rehabilitation Centre at Kandakkadu.
The President recalled that with the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, as a responsible government, decisive measures were taken to curb the spread of the coronavirus well before many countries in the world.
‘’There were numerous challenges. These challenges were conquered one by one with the implementation of comprehensive strategies. At that time, quarantine centres were something unheard of. The concept was introduced by us. Many people today have forgotten this’’, the President said.
The Presidential Task Force was established on January 26 comprising the health sector, including doctors, the military, intelligence units and the police.
President Rajapaksa also recalled the responsible measures taken by the Government ahead of many countries since the launch of the mission to evacuate the stranded students in Wuhan, China.
The President said that guidance by the Government in decision making and securing assistance of all the stakeholders were instrumental in overcoming the challenge. 16,279 people from 74 countries were brought back to the Motherland and following the completion of the quarantine process, they were sent back to their homes. The President also recalled the service rendered by maintaining 70 quarantine centres.
“Residents of the locality protested when quarantine centres were being established. Protests were staged when the arrivals from countries such as Italy and South Korea were accompanied to the quarantine centres. The government will ensure the protection of its citizens in the future as well.
Obstacles will not compromise the responsibilities of the government,” President emphasized.
Those who were in close contacts with the identified COVID 19 infected at Kandakadu Rehabilitation Centre had been directed to the quarantine process. In addition, others who were in contact with the infected indirectly have been diverted to self-isolation. President stated that as the government was successful in overcoming the crisis before, plans have been set in motion to address the impending issues as well.
President Rajapaksa instructed officials to continue the PCR tests in order to minimize the spread of the virus.
The President advised authorities to increase the number of PCR tests in areas such as Rajanganaya, where new cases were identified recently. He also instructed them to update the general public about the pandemic regularly along with the plans devised by the government to control it.
In line with the discussions to curb the COVID 19 pandemic, the need for expanding the rehabilitation programmes for drug addicts was also reviewed in depth.
President Rajapaksa emphasized that he holds everyone who stands vigilant and perseveres tirelessly both day and night to curb the COVID 19 pandemic, in high esteem.
Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi, President's Secretary P.B Jayasundera, Principal Advisor to the President, Lalith Weeratunga, Prime Minister's Secretary Gamini Senarath, members of the Presidential Task Force and several medical consultants were also present at the occasion.