ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Health has issued a circular barring doctors from speaking to the media about the country’s COVID-19 situation, opposition leader Sajith Premadasa told parliament on May 20.
“No one in the medical profession is allowed to open their mouth about COVID-19,” said Premadasa.
A purported image of the circular went viral on social media today. EconomyNext could not independently verify its authenticity, but the ministry of health nor a government spokesman has refuted Premadasa’s claims.
The document, signed by Health Ministry Secretary Dr S H Munasinghe, notes that officials under the ministry and at the provincial level either individually or as groups have been presenting incorrect information and data to the media. These officials have also been publicly criticising public health policy, it said.
The circular said that this trend has stood in the way of effective administration of health services and threatens to damage the people’s confidence in the state health sector. Pointing to provisions in the Establishment Code regarding state officials making statements to the media, the circular warns that disciplinary action will be taken against those who violate the regulations.
The opposition leader in his speech in parliament asked what the unions and professional associations in the state health sector would have to say in response.
“Does this apply to them all? It’s basically telling doctors not to talk about the dangerous crisis facing the country,” he said. (Colombo/May20/2021)