ECONOMYNEXT – The government must put people’s lives before the economy at a time when the country is grappling with a surge in daily COVID-19 cases, Sri Lanka’s former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said.
“Any damage to the economy can be recovered. We cannot recover lost lives,” he said.
In a video message released this afternoon (14), Wickremesinghe urged the government to heed expert advice.
“If expert opinion is to lock down the country, we’ll have to do that. The situation can be reviewed weekly,” he said.
“I don’t know what other alternative is there,” he added.
Wickremesinghe said Sri Lanka must safeguard itself against the pandemic that’s now rapidly spreading in Sri Lanka, Nepal and India and unforeseen symptoms such as the so called black fungus that has been found in some Indian COVID-19 patients.
“The World Health Organisation (WHO) office in Colombo and a number of our medical specialists have warned that the epidemic might spread very fast in Sri Lanka over the next few weeks,” he said.
Pointing to a shortage in vaccines, the United National Party (UNP) leader it may not be until next year or at least end of this year that everyone in the island is vaccinated against COVID-19.
“If this spreads further, it’s going to deal a heavy blow to our already weak economy. The spread must be contained. That is how we can minimise damage to the economy,” said Wickremesinghe.
“The government’s duty is to save lives. We must all act with that objective,” he added. (Colombo/May14/2021)