Concerns were raised in Parliament today over the failure to implement the health guidelines issued to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa raised the concerns when Parliament convened today.
MP Premadasa called out Speaker of the House MP Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena for failing to wear a face mask during Parliament proceedings.
Pointing out that social distancing was not being followed during proceedings as per the newly issued gazette on COVID-19 preventive regulations, MP Premadasa requested for Parliament to convene after the seating was arranged to accommodate social distancing.
He further questioned if the COVID-19 preventive regulations were being implemented in one form to Parliamentarians and in another for the public.
In response to Premadasa’s question, Health Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi said that the newly gazetted COVID-19 preventive regulations clearly interprets what a “public place” is, and the Parliament does not fall under the category.
MP Premadasa thereafter responded that the Health Minister has proven that one law is practiced within Parliament and another for the rest of the country.
Minister Wanniarachchi then called on the Opposition Leader to not waste the Parliament’s time and to read the COVID-19 preventive regulations thoroughly to clarify the definition of a public place.
When questioned by MP Premadasa if a mask should be worn by MPs during Parliament Proceedings, Minister Wanniarachchi said that as the Parliament is not considered a public place it is not necessary.
She further said that it is each MP’s choice to adhere to the regulations even within Parliament as a responsible citizen. (Colombo Gazette)