The United National Party (UNP) has accused the Minister of Health, Nutrition and Indigenous Affairs, Pavithra Wanniarachchi of failing in her duties in the fight against the coronavirus.
The UNP said it is greatly concerned by recent reports of the increased number of COVID-19 positive cases reported in the country, especially among members of the security forces.
On the 18th of April 2020, Minister of Health, Nutrition and Indigenous Affairs, Pavithra Wanniarachchi, had said that the COVID-19 outbreak in the country had been contained and the nationwide curfew could be lifted.
In the 10 days since the Minister made this announcement, the number of confirmed cases has risen by 334, the UNP said in a statement today.
Over 180 members of the armed services have been reported as having contracted the COVID-19 virus, of which 68 of them had returned home.
The UNP says this failure to protect members of our essential services, who are battling the virus on the frontlines, is a measurement of the Health Minister’s failure to understand the reality of the situation.
The UNP has been stressing the need of increased PCR testing and increased Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for members of our essential services, e.g. the doctors, nurses, members of the armed forces and delivery services.
At the Party Leader’s meeting on the 5th of April 2020, Leader of the United National Party, Ranil Wickremesinghe, urged the government to focus on increasing the number of PCR tests carried out per day as well as increasing the stock of PPEs and other necessary medical equipment.
This request has also been made continually by members of the medical fraternity including the GMOA.
“The Minister of Health has continually disregard these pleas from both the public and the medical professionals. Only on the 25th of April 2020 did the Health Ministry enable Private Hospitals to assist in carrying out the necessary testing,” the UNP said.
The UNP once again calls on the Minister of Health to increase the country’s current capability of testing to 3,000 PCR tests per day.
The recent success in reducing the spread of the COVID-19 virus in countries such as South Korea, New Zealand and Germany has been through the wide-spread testing in the country.
In South Korea, between 12,000 and 20,000 tests are carried out per day, in comparison the Health Minister has been able to equip Sri Lanka with the ability to carry out only 1,000 tests per day.
The Government’s swift action in locking-down the country will prove to have been ineffective unless more testing is done and those infected with the virus are identified and isolated from the rest of the community, the UNP said.
The UNP urged the Government to also provide members of the essential services and delivery services with the necessary protection equipment to assist them in carrying out their duties effectively and safely.
The UNP noted that individuals are risking their lives to ensure the public stay home and the Government has the responsibility to ensure their lives are also protected. (Colombo Gazette)