Defence Ministry rejects allegations Navy concealing information

The Defence Ministry has rejected allegations that the Sri Lanka Navy (SLN) is concealing information related to sailors infected with the coronavirus, to health authorities.

A statement by the Ministry of Defence said that since the identification of SLN’s first coronavirus-infected naval person on April 22, the Navy has expanded PCR tests for naval personnel who are performing duties at the Welisara Naval Complex.

Defence Secretary Major General (Retd) Kamal Gunaratne refuting accusations by certain electronic and print media that the SLN is covering up the real situation related to the spread of the coronavirus within the SLN, said that the tri-forces including the SLN are maintaining a strict transparent process of disseminating information on coronavirus infected military personnel and the testing process.

While contract tracing is in process, the SLN personnel, who have been identified as coronavirus positive through PCR tests, are being sent to hospitals for treatment.

From the inception of identifying coronavirus positives from the Welisara Naval Complex, the SLN had taken all required precautionary measures to contain the spread of the virus on the recommendations of Deputy Director General of Public Health Services Dr. Paba Palihawadana, a group of officers including a specialist in infectious diseases from the Ministry of Health Dr. Thilanga Pathirana and an officer from the Regional Directorate of Health of Gampaha, who inspected the Naval Complex.

The SLN has also sought medical advice from the Gampaha Regional Directorate of Health while the government-trained SLN’s Public Health Inspectors are also stationed in the Naval Complex to handle the related tasks.

Information on PCR tests done on naval personnel, including all the details of both positive and negative cases, has been duly submitted to the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, office of the Director General of Health Services, Directorates of Health Services in all districts and the Sri Lanka Police by the SLN.

“The SLN has been following all the necessary communication with the health and other responsible authorities on reporting its situation regarding the coronavirus infected sailors and the testing process,” the Defence Secretary said.

He said the SLN, as a responsible Government organization, was strongly committed to submit all the information about sailors, who had been tested and infected with the coronavirus, to the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, office of the Deputy Director General of Public Health Services, District Health Service offices and the responsible government authorities, to support the government mechanism to contain the spread of coronavirus.

Maj. Gen. Gunaratne, while commending the support given by the SLN to prevent spreading the virus, stressed that the SLN would not hide any information regarding coronavirus infections within the SLN. (Colombo Gazette)

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