Govt-opposition clash over COVID mitigation efforts

2020-11-25 at 13:32

Leader of the Opposition Parliamentarian Sajith Premadasa charges the government which claimed it succeeded in controlling the spread of coronavirus in Sri Lanka, began in October to place the responsibility of the second wave of the virus on the peoples shoulders.

Addressing the Minister of Health with a query understanding order 27/2 the Opposition Leader claimed the country’s current dire state of affairs was brought about by the government’s irresponsibility.

He said due to serious shortcomings with the National Operation Centre for Prevention of COVID-19 Outbreak, mitigation efforts, a failure by the government to identify the country’s priorities and the government’s refusal to admit the gravity of the present state of affairs, the government has also failed to provide an official statement explaining the Minuwangoda apparel factory coronavirus cluster.

Sajith Premadasa charged the government of failing to assign more medical experts to mitigation efforts, carry out more strict quarantine efforts, increase PCR testing capacity and related technology, thereby foregoing their responsibility.

He charged the government of lacking an effective plan and even sending COVID-19 positive cases who are asymptomatic back home, without a PCR test.

In response Minister of Health Pavithra Wanniarachchi said 34 PCR machines are in operation at 25 centres to conduct PCR tests, adding such facilities are at present ample to manage COVID-19 mitigation efforts.

The Health Minister further noted steps are being taken to obtain funds from the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank to increase facilities and also build PCR laboratories at state hospitals.

She furthermore stated that measures will be taken to improve Intensive Care Units and other preparations for to face COVID-19.

Minister Wanniarachchi further stated that antibody tests conducted on patients who tested positive for the virus and their release from hospital is determined by specialists.

However she said epidemiology specialists have not stated that the antibody tests can determine how far the virus has spread in the country.

The Minister of Health stated therefore that all decisions on controlling the spread of the virus are reached by epidemiology specialists and experts, adding as soon as they inform that antibody tests are required facilities have been provided to conduct said tests.

Meanwhile Minister of Health Pavithra Wanniarachchi stated final rites of COVID-19 victims must be conducted at the expense of the victim’s relatives.

The Minister added the government will not bear the cost for the final rites of individuals who pass away due to COVID-19.

Responding to a question raised by Samagi Jana Balawegaya Parliamentarian Mujibur Rahuman pertaining to difficulties faced by victim’s families, the Health Minister said if the victim’s relatives are unable to bear the cost measures will be taken to reach out to donors and collect funds in this regard.