President Gotabaya Rajapaksa yesterday said it was both impractical and difficult to close down the country until a cure for COVID-19 is found and therefore the public should be ready to return to normal lives while following health guidelines.
The President made these remarks while participating at the launch of a new digital platform to help in contact tracing at the Presidential Secretariat, the President’s Media Division (PMD) said. The new platform titled ‘Stay Safe’ provides a QR code to organisations or companies logging onto the website staysafe.gov.lk which can be displayed on their premises.
Anyone working or visiting these complexes can use their mobile phones to scan their details using the unique QR code. The project, which will be launched on Saturday, is aimed at helping health authorities track potential COVID-19 infections and allow people to move around with limited restrictions.
The ‘Stay Safe’ digital device designed under the guidance of the Information and Communication Technology Agency of Sri Lanka (ICTA) with the aim of containing the spread of COVID-19 was introduced to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.
Tracing close associates of COVID infected and the movements of the disease carriers are the two major challenges in preventing the spread of the virus. The ‘Stay Safe’ project has been designed as a solution to these two problems.
The new initiative was introduced by ICTA Chairman Jayantha de Silva during the daily meeting presided over by the President with the members of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 Prevention.
Speaking at the event, which included members of the Government’s COVID-19 combating task force such as Health Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi, the President said people have to act responsibly.
President reiterated the importance of the responsible behaviour on the part of the public and noted people cannot be disciplined through continuously maintaining curfew. President Rajapaksa said that decisions should be taken with a balanced view of the lives of the people, the economy of the country and all other aspects.
While pointing out that the country cannot remain closed until a final solution is found to control the virus, President said that everyone should be prepared to carry on daily activities as usual while adhering to health guidelines of the health authorities. President instructed the Police to strictly enforce curfew regulations in order to control the virus.
Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi, MP Premanath C. Dolawatta, Secretary to the President Dr. P.B. Jayasundera, Principal Advisory to the President Lalith Weeratunga and members of the Task Force were present during the discussion.