The United National Party (UNP) and key Officials of the Government led by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa had cordial discussions on measures taken to counter the COVID-19 crisis yesterday, the President’s Media Division (PMD) said in a statement.
The meeting, which lasted about two hours, was held at the Presidential Secretariat and was presided over by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa. The President had explained extensively the steps the Government had taken to identify COVID-19 patients, and expressed optimism that the situation had been kept under control due to the bulk of those diagnosed being Sri Lankans who had returned from a different country and had been sent to quarantine centres, or who had been identified as having close contact with those diagnosed and promptly isolated.
During the discussion, Presidential Task Force on Continuous Supply, Operation and Coordination of Essential Services head Basil Rajapaksa had explained in detail the multiple steps taken by the Government to counter COVID-19 and provide support to the public. The need to keep disruption to everyday life to a minimum was touched upon by him. Basil Rajapaksa spoke of steps taken to provide assistance to Samurdhi beneficiaries and public servants, as well as other vulnerable communities, the statement said.
Both sides agreed that the situation needs not to be politicised and handled in a way that made public interest a priority. There was also consensus that public life must return to normal as soon as possible, and adequate measures must be taken to reduce impact on the economy. Both sides paid attention to issues that may be encountered by public servants, entrepreneurs, plantation workers, day labourers and other segments of the population.
Both sides also appreciated the work done by healthcare services, the tri-forces, and other stakeholders. The UNP representatives also agreed to update their district-level party members on the steps being taken.
From the Government side, Dinesh Gunawardena, Nimal Siripala de Silva, Wimal Weerawansa, Bandula Gunawardana, Johnston Fernando and Dullas Alahapperuma participated in the discussion. The UNP group included Ravi Karunanayake, Arjuna Ranatunga, Ruwan Wijewardene, Daya Gamage, Palitha Range Bandara, Navin Dissanayake and Lakshman Wijemanne were present.