Increase Coronavirus tests to at least 3,000 per day, Ranil tells Government

Ranil Wickremesinghe - Prime Minister of Sri Lanka

The UNP, as a responsible party with nationwide backing, would not seek any political advantage out of the crisis created by the spread of the coronavirus, but the government should take steps to immediately increase the number of PCR tests to at least 3,000 per day, in consultation with health experts, says its leader Ranil Wickremesinghe.

Wickremesinghe urged the government on Monday to take the people into their confidence and explain in detail the measures it had implemented since February to combat the virus, how it proposed to increase the number of PCR tests and how long it would take to achieve that target.

Many countries had obtained large numbers of testing kits and Sri Lanka should follow suit without any delay, Wickremesinghe said.

The World Bank had provided funds for the provision of emergency health services and the World Health Organisation had set out guidelines on dealing with all aspects of the coronavirus, he noted pointing out that essential requirements of health service and security personnel should also be addressed speedily.

Wickremesinghe referring to the government’s request to public servants to donate a month’s salary to the COVID-19 Fund queried as to how much that would help. The authorities, he stressed should be tapping bigger sources of funds.

Meanwhile Wickremesinghe has advised UNP candidates at the next General Election to be patient and not emulate their Podujana Peramuna counterparts by engaging in political campaigns, while the country was facing a serious health crisis.

“We should practice self-control, until such time it was clear that parliamentary polls would be held as scheduled. If we engage in political campaigns at this juncture, then the people will judge us accordingly”, he has said advising that winning hearts and minds was important.

The Elections Commission has fixed the postponed Parliamentary Polls for June 20, but has yet to issue preferential numbers to the candidates.

Elections chief Chief Mahinda Deshapriya said that polls could be postponed further, if the spread of the coronavirus disease worsened. The number of infected persons rose to 869 yesterday, while deaths stood at nine. The number of active cases was placed at 517.

(Source: The Island – By Zacki Jabbar)