May 11, Colombo: Former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe says the communication mechanism to educate the public about the COVID-19 pandemic is not working properly and contradictory and incomprehensible and called on the government to implement a common, simple mechanism.
Making a special statement Mr. Wickremesinghe said if the regulations in respect of social distancing are to be relaxed it should be done only in accordance with the advice of medical professionals and allied associations.
He warned that the country would be plunged into a worse crisis if the government goes ahead with the partial lifting of the current lockdown without focusing on adequate testing.
“I have requested that at least 3,000 tests should be carried out daily. Sri Lanka would be plunged into a worse crisis if the lockdown is lifted without adequate testing,” he said.
It is the responsibility of the government to inform the public in an open and transparent manner as to how many tests are conducted in a day and when the target of 3000 tests a day can be achieved, he said.
The former Premier remarking that his attention has been drawn to the government’s request for the state workers to donate their salaries to combat the pandemic asked how the government can overcome the crisis with such a measure. He pointed out that the current financial crisis is not a simple one that could be resolved by the donations of state workers’ salaries.
“This crisis will have a major impact on the economy of the country. I also urge the Government to educate the public on how this challenge can be overcome through the donations of Public Employees' salaries,” he said.
The UNP leader pointed out that as funds have been allocated by the World Bank to help Sri Lanka to take steps to fight this pandemic there should not be severe financial problems.
“I also request the government to inform the people of the advice any guidelines given by the WHO to Sri Lanka and to take steps to implement these recommendations,” he said.
The former Prime Minister also stated that his United National Party (UNP) will extend maximum support the government in Covid-19 combat. p>
The UNP leader said that the UNP is not attempting to gain political mileage at this decisive juncture where the country has faced a global pandemic but the government should also be flexible in this moment by considering the proposals made by the opposition to win this challenge collectively. p>