Govt steps up COVID-19 defensive measures | Daily News


 

Govt steps up COVID-19 defensive measures

Two hotlines for COVID-19 info- 0710107107, 0113071073
Government schools, Pirivena vacation begins today
Public urged to cooperate fully with authorities
Information and Mass Media and Higher Education, Technology and Innovation Minister Dr Bandula Gunawardena addressing the media  on the measures in place to prevent the spread of COVID – 19 in Sri Lanka. Health Services Director General  Dr Anil Jasinghe was also present. Picture by Saman Sri Wedage
Information and Mass Media and Higher Education, Technology and Innovation Minister Dr Bandula Gunawardena addressing the media on the measures in place to prevent the spread of COVID – 19 in Sri Lanka. Health Services Director General Dr Anil Jasinghe

The Government yesterday announced a series of measures to curb COVID-19 in the country, including the immediate commencement of the vacation for all Government schools and Pirivenas. Two hotlines (0710107107 and 0113071073) were also established yesterday for the public to receive accurate and confirmed information on COVID-19. The service is free of charge and available 24 hours.

The Government also called on the public to cooperate fully with the measures adopted by the authorities to combat COVID-19, including strict quarantine measures for returning Sri Lankans. The public should also rely only on verified information given through mainstream media and not social media such as Facebook or What’s App, stated Media Minister Dr. Bandula Gunawardena. Addressing the media at the Education Ministry, Education Minister Dullas Alahapperuma said the vacation for schools was a precautionary measure taken in view of the present situation and there was no need for parents to panic.

“This is not a closure of schools per se, actually what we are doing is bringing the first school term vacation that generally comes in April a bit forward.

Schools will re-open as scheduled on April 20.” Dhamma schools will also not function until April 20 and schools have been requested to cancel all educational tours. The Minister requested the private schools and private tuition classes to abide by with the Education Ministry’s decision on Government schools.  When questioned as to why the Ministry does not order private tuition classes and private schools to close their institutions, the Minister said that the Ministry can only make a request from those institutions. However it was later revealed that most private schools had followed this decision. Meanwhile issuing a media release, Archbishop of Colombo Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith has also appreciated the decision taken by the Education Ministry to grant an early vacation for schools. The release stated that all Catholic private schools will also be closed during this period. According to the Minister, the Ministry decided to close schools on the directives of religious and political heads who wish to ensure a safe environment for the 4.3 million students.

Asked whether there is any possibility to hold the term tests at schools, Alahapperuma said that with the closure of schools term tests cannot be held. When questioned on the fate of big-matches scheduled to be held in due course, the Minister responded that the final decisions on such events are taken by principals of the respective schools.


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