No complete lockdown: Pavithra

Pavithra Wanniarachchi

Ruling out claims made by the Opposition to go for a complete lockdown, Health Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi said yesterday that the policy of the government was to combat the COVID-19 pandemic while securing the economy.

She told Parliament that if the economy was crippled, funds would not be available to be used for COVID-19 prevention tasks.

Responding to a statement made by Chief Opposition Whip Lakshman Kiriella, who asked whether the government was going for a complete lockdown, she said the globally accepted method was to combat COVID-19 pandemic while securing the economy.

“If the economy was crippled, we would not be able to find money to treat COVID patients, conduct PCR tests and take patients to hospitals,” she said.

MP Kiriella said the government should decide on what was important, the economic crisis or the health crisis. “We are not forcing the government to go for a lockdown.we can’t reject the need to go for a lockdown to face the COVID pandemic right now. It is true that we will have to face an economic crisis, if we go for a lockdown.

The government should decide if what is important is the economic crisis or the health crisis,” he said.

Trade Minister Bandula Gunawardane said the country suffered a massive economic crisis where the economic growth rate reduced to -3.6 when the country was locked down during the first and second waves.

He said it was the worst economic crisis that the country suffered after independence.

(Source: Daily Mirror – Ajith Siriwardana and Yohan Perera)