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Covid second wave because Govt said it was over – Opposition

Health Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi

ECONOMYNEXT- The Parliamentary Opposition is charging that the general public let down their guard against the Covid 19 pandemic because the government officially stated that the virus has been eliminated in Sri Lanka as more reports of positive patients were announced.

Several more factories were closed, and reports of Covid positive patients were reported from several locations as it appeared that the virus was gaining ground on the island.

Chief Opposition Whip Lakshman Kiriella took on the Health Minister in Parliament today saying she had said last month that Sri Lanka has successfully eliminated COVID from the community.

Health Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi had made the statement despite the Government Medical Officers Association (GMOA) and the Medical Research Institute (MRI) stating that the problem was not over, Kiriella said.

Wanniarachchi told reporters at the time that Sri Lanka can be considered as a country which was able to successfully eliminate COVID-19 from the community.

Kiriella charged that the government, unfortunately, wanted to take political credit until the elections were over that COVID-19 was successfully eliminated which led the people to take the virus lightly.

“The general public trusted what the government said and did not follow proper protective measures,” he added.

Replying Kiriella, Health Minister Wanniarachchi said that she made that statement at that time based on several facts.

She said that generally COVID-19 is determined based on four stages, stage one where there are no cases in the country, stage two where cases appear from here and there in the country and their contacts can be found, stage three where patients are found as clusters and stage four where patients are found all around the country source of the virus cannot be found.

She added at the time she made this statement the Lankapura patient was found and over 25,000 PCR tests where done in the community.

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Moreover, she said the Ministry had informed all the main hospitals in the country to do 10 PCR test per day in hospital clinics and if someone had died of Pneumonia they were tested before the postmortem examination.

However, she said that through all these efforts they did not find any COVID-19 patient.

So she said that she made this statement where Sri Lanka can be considered as a country which successfully eliminated COVID-19 from the community because we as a country which was in the third stage did not have clusters or cases in the community for a few months.

But she said that in the same statement, she had said that if the government repatriates Sri Lankans working abroad above the limit which could be handled at a time and if the virus leak out, there then there would be a risk of the virus spreading in the community.

The statement made by Health Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi on September 3

(Colombo/Oct09/2020)

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