President urges all sectors to resume operations amidst battle against COVID – 19

President urges all sectors to resume operations amidst battle against COVID – 19

President urges all sectors to resume operations amidst battle against COVID – 19

Written by Hassaan Shazuli

16 Apr, 2020 | 12:05 am

COLOMBO (News1st): President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has emphasized that the activities of the state and private sectors should resume within next few days and return to normalcy in the country which is still grappling with COVID-19.

“This should be done in a manner in which the national economy and the lives of the people are protected,” the President was quoted as saying, in a release sent by his office, during a meeting with ministry secretaries on Wednesday.

Sri Lanka has reported seven deaths due to the coronavirus, and 237 total cases out of which 63 have recovered.

However, Rajapaksa had instructed officials to take the necessary steps in order to resume operations of the agriculture, fishing, and manufacturing industries, and to draw special attention towards the cultivation of export crops.

He had highlighted that it is the duty of ministry secretaries and the heads of institutions to prevent public gatherings and to abide by the instructions of health authorities.

A widening trade deficit, depreciation of the rupee, and mounting debt have burdened the economy of the south-asian island nation which is now considering the possibility of conducting the general election.

The Opposition and some unions accused the government of trying to relax the lockdown style curfew to enable it to hold the general election.

“Holding an election in such a jiffy would be undemocratic and people would not be able to practice their right to franchise freely,” Anura Kumara Dissanayake, the leader of the People’s Liberation Front said this week.

He warned of leading the people against the government if it conducts the general election against the backdrop of the current crisis.

According to the President’s office, Rajapaksa had discussed relaxing the curfew restrictions that have been in place for only five weeks in the country, in which six districts are under an indefinite lockdown after they were identified as high-risk zones.

The World Health Organization has already warned that lifting coronavirus lockdown measures too early could spark a “deadly resurgence” in infections – a situation that some claim Sri Lanka will not be able to handle.

Sri Lanka’s government medical officers association has also urged the government to avoid lifting curfews intermittently, citing that it would cause the exercise to prove futile, as there could be thousands of infected cases in the society.

“If social distancing is not practiced, there is a high risk that we will move to stage 3B Village Cluster situation. Currently, Sri Lanka is in stage 3A Home Cluster situation,” health authorities warned earlier this month.

While health authorities state that a majority most of the infected cases are those who had been undergoing quarantine, the threat of an infected patient coming from the society cannot be disregarded.

On Wednesday, Sri Lanka reported five new infections out of which one was from the community.

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