(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) – The Sri Lankan government today held a discussion with the opposition United National Party (UNP) on the prevailing situation in the country with the spread of COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
The discussion was held at the Presidential Secretariat under the patronage of President Gotabhaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa with a group of UNP leaders.
During the discussion, the President elaborated at length on the steps taken by the government and future plans to prevent the spread of coronavirus in the country.
The President pointed out that identification of majority of the infected people from quarantine centers or from those who have had close contact with people contracted the virus before was of great help to contain the spread of the virus in the country.
Basil Rajapaksa, Head of the Special Task Force and Special Representative of the President, explained about the essential services, food supplies, drug distribution mechanism and the program implemented by the Task Force to maintain the normal life of the people.
He said that a program is being implemented to provide Rs. 5000 per family to 5.3 million families out of the 6.5 million families identified in the island before April 09.
Both sides were of the opinion that the program to curb the spread of the virus should be done in a way that minimized the potential disruption to normal public life and agreed that the program should be apolitical.
Both sides focused on continuing the economic process of the country uninterrupted as well as on the difficulties faced by the public sector employees, businessmen, plantation workers and other daily wage earners, and self-employed and the solutions that should be provided to them.
The dedication of all health personnel including doctors, nurses, all health staff, the armed forces and the police was appreciated by both sides.
The UNP delegation also agreed to inform their party representatives in the districts.
The discussion which lasted over two hours was cordial and successful, President’s Media Division said.
Ministers Dinesh Gunawardena, Nimal Siripala de Silva, Wimal Weerawansa, Bandula Gunawardena, Johnston Fernando and Dullas Alahapperuma represented the government side.
Representing the UNP were Deputy Leader Ravi Karunanayake, MPs Arjuna Ranatunga, Ruwan Wijewardene, Daya Gamage, Palitha Range Bandara, Naveen Dissanayake and Lakshman Wijemanne.
Secretary to the President Dr. PB Jayasundara, Secretary to the Ministry of Finance SR Attygalle and Central Bank Governor Prof. W.D. Lakshman were also present on the occasion.