Covid 19 enters Parliament but the work will go on

FILE PHOTO – SLMC leader Rauff Hakeem is Covid positive

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s Parliament will function as normal although at least two Parliamentarians and a senior official of the Prime Minister’s office have tested positive for Covid 19, an announcement made by the Sergeant-at-Arms Narendra Fernando said.

The two Parliamentarians who are Covid positive are the General Secretary of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party Dayasiri Jayasekara and Sri Lanka Muslim Congress Leader Rauff Hakeem. Both MPs announced their conditions themselves.

The senior official is Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa’s Coordinating Secretary for political affairs Kumarasiri Hettige, Fernando’s announcement said.

Hakeem, who is 60, had attended Parliament on January 5, and had come into contact with 15 other MPs and several Parliament staff, Fernando said. These contacts had been traced by viewing CCTV footage, he added.

Jayasekara, 51, the State Minister for Batik, Handloom and Local Apparel products had had a fever and undergone a PCR test which came back positive on January 8.

He is currently under treatment at a Hotel-turned Quarantine Centre in Hikkaduwa, media reported.

Jayasekara had attended a traditional ceremony at the SLFP Headquarters on January 1 which had drawn a number of other Parliamentarians including Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva.





Hettige had come to Parliament on January 8 and had attended a meeting in the office of the Leader of the House, Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena, Fernando said.

Several officials in the office of the Leader of the House have been identified as close contacts of Hettige and will be duly tested for the virus. The locations that he had visited in Parliament have been identified and disinfected the announcement added.

Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardene had told reporters last night that it was unavoidable for MPs to contract the virus “as they have to travel to areas where there are infected people.” (Colombo, January 11, 2021)

Reported by Arjuna Ranawana

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