Monday, 08 June 2020 06:59

RW slams Govt. on COVID-19 outbreak management

United National Party (UNP) leader Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday criticised the Government for mismanaging the COVID-19 outbreak, faulting them for not scaling-up testing fast enough, failing to distribute adequate protection gear to Navy and Army frontline personnel, and failing to be adequately transparent on the development of the outbreak. Wickremesinghe made the allegations while addressing a group of UNP representatives from the Galle District at the party headquarters yesterday. “The Government has only conducted about 690 PCR tests a day since 18 February,” Wickremesinghe stated, pointing out that the Opposition had repeatedly called for the Government to increase the number of PCR tests to detect COVID-19 and guard against community spread. Wickremesinghe stressed he had requested the Government to increase PCR testing and had made his stance clear at the first All Party Leaders meeting in March. The former Prime Minister said that the UNP, like many other Opposition parties worldwide, had given the Government the support it needs to deal with COVID-19 outbreak.

“There were only 102 cases of COVID-19 reported in Sri Lanka up to that date and no deaths had been reported. However, the number of cases has surpassed 1,814 since then,” he said, questioning the Government’s management of the crisis. Wickremesinghe cited Vietnam as an example where the Government had managed the crisis well despite having three times the population of Sri Lanka, but their number of COVID-19 cases was still at 350 and no deaths have been reported. He said that the Government needs to be held responsible for their mismanagement of the crisis and failing to enforce proper health and safety measures to minimise the outbreak. Wickremesinghe charged that the Government should take full responsibility, and the Cabinet and the Minister of Health should be held responsible for not bringing in masks and necessary health equipment in time despite adequate warning.

The UNP leader said that the Government continues to fail to provide the necessary equipment to the officials who were engaged in the frontlines, charging that had the Government acted properly, COVID-19 could not have spread through the Navy and Air Force personnel. He also called on the Government to give details of what measures had been taken regarding the $ 230 million made available by the World Bank. Wickremesinghe also charged there were gaps in the information sharing of the COVID-19 situation by the Government and said this deprived the Opposition the opportunity to work for the country by sharing their experiences and ideas with the Government.


(FT)

Read 45 times