State Minister Urban Development and Coast Conservation Dr. Nalaka Godahewa says a total lockdown is not possible, but the government remains committed to tackling the threat by isolating selected areas. The State Minister also acknowledges that the unexpected Covid-19 explosion in India has badly affected Sri Lanka’s vaccination strategy.
Dr. Godahewa said so after inspecting the ongoing construction of Covid-19 treatment centre at Warellawatta, Yakkala.
Steps have been taken to convert the non-operating factory of Politex Garments in Warallawatta as a Covid-19 treatment centre. The facility is being built by Sri Lanka Navy engineers with funds from the Western Provincial Council. “We believe that we can start this project by the end of the week and is expected to complete it in two weeks”, Dr. Godahewa told the media at the scene.
Dr. Godahewa said “We witness the fast virus spread and unfortunate situation developing in our neighbouring India. Under the circumstances, India limited its supply of vaccines to foreign nations. If that didn’t happen and had we been able to implement the original strategy, we could have had a smooth vaccination program. This was a matter beyond our control as it happened due to an unforeseen problem that developed in India. Nevertheless the government is reaching out to other nations to find a solution for this. We don’t run away from problems.
“Enforcement alone is not sufficient and it’s a citizens’ responsibility too to contain the Covid-19. Spreading of the virus is common, the responsibility lies not only with the government but also with the people. We all know that people took it easy during the New Year holiday period and It also caused the ongoing surge in the number of infections. Comparatively, we as a country are doing a great job in looking after our patients. Citizens must do their best to protect themselves by following strict health guidelines while the government is taking measures to treat infected patients like this initiative at Warellawatta facility.
“The Government has already announced that people who organize festive events would be arrested. Government can enforce the law. However responsibility lies within the hands of the people. We must tell everyone including our friends and relatives to be cautious and act with responsibility. Law enforcement can’t do everything, people also should act in a responsible manner.
“The Covid-19 spread is a global phenomenon. However our Opposition Leader’s statements imply that it is this government that is responsible for the Coronavirus. Please name any country in the world that has not been impacted by this pandemic. Regardless of the irresponsible political statements made by the leader of the Opposition, there is a challenge ahead of us. We have to accept that. We all have to deal with it and the government is doing its best.
Always we have to look at both sides of the coin. If we go for a lockdown, would 100% agree to that? The majority of people need to continue with their livelihoods. The restriction should be done carefully with minimum impact on their livelihoods. That’s why selected lockdowns are enforced in necessary areas. We could have easily taken a decision to lock down the entire country. But that creates problems for many people and their livelihoods get disrupted. How many people would die from health issues other than Corona? When the last lockdown happened only corona deaths were discussed. But there are so many other patients with critical illnesses. They get badly impacted and sometimes don’t get adequate care during the total lockdowns. Hence this is a complex situation. Hence the decisions must be taken giving due considerations to all these factors” concluded Dr. Godahewa.