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Prioritise containing COVID-19 over elections, says Cardinal

ECONOMYNEXT – Now is not the time for elections in Sri Lanka, given the state of the COVID-19 pandemic, Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith said.

He told reporters in Colombo this morning that the country should not go to the polls until no more new cases are reported.

“I believe that getting over the hurdle of the virus pandemic is more important than the elections, ” the Catholic Bishop of Colombo said.

“There are new cases being reported every day and thousands in quarantine at the moment, so we are yet to fully control this epidemic,” he said at a press conference held at the Bishops office in Colombo.

Ranjith said that the sombre events planned for the first anniversary of the Easter Sunday bombings last year have been cancelled because of the COVID 19 threat.

“We planned for events at the shrine of St Anthony at Kochchikade and at St Sebastian’s at Katuwapitiya, but those events are cancelled for April 21,” he said.

Instead,  he called on all Sri Lankans to observe two minutes silence at 8:45 am on the 21st in remembrance of the victims.

“After that at 8:47 light a lamp and pray for the victims and their families,” he said.

Ranjith pointed out that apart from the many Catholics and Christians, people of other faiths, as well as foreign tourists had lost their lives in the attacks.

“We are requesting the Churches to ring the bells at this time and the Temples and the Kovils and other placed where they have bells to do so,” he said.

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“They can light a lamp or a candle and say a Gaatha or a stanza at the time,” he said. (Colombo/Apr16/2020)

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