Calls for prompt action by Opposition not heeded – Rajitha
By Methmalie Dissanayake
Samagi Jana Balawegaya Kalutara District Parliamentarian Dr. Rajitha Senaratne claimed that had the Government heeded the calls from the Opposition to take timely action against the outbreak of COVID-19, the country would have been better off in its fight against the pandemic.
Participating in a debate on the pandemic at the time of the adjournment of the House, he stated, COVID-19 is not just a local problem but one of the greatest crises that befell the entire human civilisation.
“On 22 October alone, 2,297 suspected cases were found and from among them, 167 were found to be positive. A total of 60 have left hospitals after recovery and 2,404 patients are receiving treatment at 27 centres while there are 2,077 beds in hospitals to accommodate them. There are 186 beds remaining to treat others. This includes the beds at the Neville Fernando Teaching Hospital of which 400 beds are used at present. When the Hospital was taken over under my purview, I was blamed. The Government Medical Officers’ Association criticised me for taking it over. If that Hospital was not there, what would have been the result?”
“At the outbreak of the pandemic, we asked the Government to close down the airports. We asked the Government to go for a lockdown on 20 March. Our calls were not heeded. Thereafter they had to do things as told us. But it was too late then. There are variations of COVID-19. The ‘A’ version had been found in Sri Lanka, Australia and the United States, among others. China had the B version while the C version was found in Europe. The advantage we have is being a tropical country where humidity and temperature works against the virus. That should be capitalised on to fight against the virus,” the former Health Minister said.