Extend the lockdown – Ranil

Ranil Wickremesinghe

UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday urged the government to extend the lockdown in keeping with the advice of health experts.

The entire nation would support an extension if it was done properly, he said. Health experts had made a number of recommendations on what to do during a lockdown, including a significant increase in testing, he said.

“Mangala Samaraweea, Raja Mahendran, President’s Counsel D. S Wijesinghe and eminent personality Gowri Thawarasa have passed away due to COVID. Six people whom I know also passed away recently. There is a rapid spread of COVID. There have been 5000 COVID related deaths since 07 August. 3,000 deaths have taken place within the last 20 days. This is a high rate of deaths,” he said.

Wickremesinghe said that COVID-19 statistics had to be inaccurate and these inaccuracies hide the real spread of the disease. The government must not only think of treating people that are detected, it should increase random testing to identify and isolate emerging clusters.

“We have to reduce the spread. The government declared a 10-day lockdown. It has received everyone’s support but is not sufficient as per the medical advice. Another two-week lockdown is required,” he said.

The UNP leader said that the economic damage caused by a lockdown is immense. The country is facing a great decline in its foreign currency reserves. However, as a large number of garment workers had contracted Covid-19 in the coming weeks it would be impossible to continue operations due to crippling manpower shortages.

“Most daily wage earners had no work even before the lockdown. If you want to help them, reduce the spread of the virus. The remedy for this is to go immediately to the IMF. We have already received $ 720 million from the IMF for COVID control,” he added.

(Source: The Island – By Saman Indrajith)