#NextGenSL wants parties to limit political rallies

ECONOMYNEXT – A group of young politicians from all parties is requesting political parties to refrain from holding large rallies and gatherings for the next two weeks in light of the COVID19 virus threat.

In a statement issued to media Friday, the co-conveners of #NextGenSL, Rasika Jayakody and Milinda Rajapaksha said: “as responsible political parties, we must place the safety and well-being of the public above the interests of our respective political campaigns.”

“Sri Lanka is currently experiencing an unprecedented healthcare emergency due to COVID-19 — a global pandemic that has gripped over 100 countries across the globe,” they said.

The island nation has recorded three cases where COVID19 was detected. The first was a Chinese woman tourist who has completely recovered and has since returned.

The other two are Sri Lankans who are currently receiving treatment. 

The group went on to say that “experts have constantly advised the public to stay away from public gatherings to limit the spread of the virus. As a result, the government has decided to close down schools and universities while advising the public to avoid non-essential travel.” 

“With the Parliamentary election slated for April 25, all political parties have already organized political rallies to mobilize their supporters before the polls. However, we note with concern that such large gatherings will pose a severe risk, given the nature of the current pandemic,” they said. 

Hence, we, #NextGenSL—a cross-party youth political initiative—request all political parties to consider not holding large political rallies and gatherings at least for the next two weeks to ensure the safety of the public. (Colombo, March 13, 2020)

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