(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) –President Gotabaya Rajapaksa assured that the challenge of protecting the people until the COVID-19 pandemic is eradicated from the world will be met by controlling the risk of spread of the virus from time to time within the country.
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 centers were unheard of.
The concept was introduced by us. Many people today have forgotten this,’’the President observed.
President Rajapaksa made these remarks during a meeting at the Presidential Secretariat, yesterday (14) with the members of the Presidential Task Force established to combat COVID-19 in Sri Lanka to review the current situation that has arisen following the emergence of a new cluster of COVID-19 infected persons at the Kandakadu Rehabilitation Centre.
The Presidential Task Force was established on January 26 comprising the health sector, including doctors, the military, intelligence units and the police.
President Rajapaksa 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 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 centers.
“Residents of the locality protested when quarantine centers were being established. Protests were staged when the arrivals from countries such as Italy and South Korea were accompanied to the quarantine centers. The government will ensure the protection of its citizens in the future as well. Obstacles will not compromise the responsibilities of the government,” President emphasised.
Those who were in close contacts with the identified COVID-19 infected at Kandakadu Rehabilitation Center 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 minimise 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 parallel to the discussions to curb the COVID-19 pandemic, the need for expanding the rehabilitation programmes for drug addicts were 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 PavithraWanniarachchi, Secretary to the President, Dr.P.B Jayasundera, Principal Advisor to the President, Lalith Weeratunga, Secretary to the Prime Minister Gamini Senarath, members of the Presidential Task Force and several medical consultants were present.