Comprehensive plan to be devised to reopen country
The Special Committee on COVID-19 Control that met on Friday (24), decided to devise a comprehensive plan including health recommendations and restrictions that need to be imposed on reopening the country after lifting of the prevailing curfew. The plan will be prepared by three relevant authorities covering three areas.
Under the guidance of the Health Ministry and the health specialists’ committees, the Ministry of Public Administration will issue recommendations on how to maintain services in the public sector, the Ministry of Transport will issue recommendations with regard to public transport and the Ministry of Labour will issue recommendations on how to maintain services in the private sector.
These decisions were taken at the online meeting of the Special Committee on COVID-19 Control, chaired by Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa. Minister Rajapaksa said the fullest support of the public health inspectors, local political authorities, rural development committees and the media should be sought when implementing the plan. He also pointed out that all sectors should work together to continue the country’s economic process under the ‘new normal’ concept in the face of the Covid-19 challenge.
He said that the economic growth rate which was maintained at 12.3% during the second quarter of 2021 fell to 1% during the third quarter due to the lockdown imposed in the country and therefore, he explained the need to work towards the target of maintaining the country’s economic growth rate at 3% in the 4th quarter. He expressed optimism that this would help maintain the country’s overall annual economic growth rate at 5% this year.
The importance of the Ayurvedic post-COVID-19 treatment centres was also emphasised and the establishment of new Ayurvedic post-COVID-19 treatment centres in the tourist zones aimed at promoting the tourism industry was also discussed. There is a huge international demand for local medicines in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The attention was drawn to formulate a direct plan to remove existing barriers in exporting medicinal products. State Minister Sisira Jayakody stated that the Ministry of Indigenous Medicine has made all arrangements to provide indigenous immune strengthening medicines to all families in the country free of charge and further said that Rs 6,000 million has been allocated for this purpose.