NO PLANS FOR LOCKDOWN - Defence Secretary | Daily News

NO PLANS FOR LOCKDOWN - Defence Secretary

‘Govt. closely monitoring situation’

The current COVID-19 situation in the country is not at a level that requires the whole country to be placed under lockdown, but if the situation worsens the Government may have to take more far-reaching measures in order to deal with the situation for the greater benefit of the people, said Defence Secretary Maj. Gen. (Rtd) Kamal Gunaratne.

“Even the President does not want to lockdown the country at this point, but if the situation gets worse, then we may have to take drastic measures. The Government does not want to impose another lockdown in the country but if and when there are many cases being reported from a particular area and depending on contact tracing outcomes, we may impose lockdowns in the affected areas. For instance, at the start of this cluster we had to place three police divisions in the Gampaha District under lockdown even though reluctantly. This measure was absolutely necessary to contain the spread of the virus to other areas,” he added.

In an interview with the Daily News he said the moment these garment factory workers had initially reported to the management regarding their obvious symptoms, the management of this factory should have handled it better.

“However, the manager had not taken it seriously resulting in disrepute to this company which contributes immensely to the country’s economy. The Covid situation in the country has gone this far due to the irresponsible conduct of certain officials of the company where the Covid-19 positive workers were detected.”

But, now it has happened and the situation needs to be evaluated to determine what went wrong and where things went wrong, he said, adding that when Corona was spreading around the world, President Gotahaya Rajapaksa ensured the mechanism was set to deal with the situation.

“The military was ready, the health department was ready, police and the government elements including Government Agents (GA) and Grama Seva Niladharis were all ready. Everyone got together and the Task Force was placed under the leadership of the Army Commander and the situation was brought under control. Even when the Navy cluster was detected, we were ready to handle the situation. But, unfortunately this time around it is perhaps negligence due to ignorance by these persons that has led to this situation. But, since we have the mechanism in place, there is no serious danger and we are capable of handling the situation. The Defence Secretary however, made two requests from the people to be truthful in disclosing their whereabouts and adhere to the instructions recommended by the health authorities and the military such as washing hands and maintaining social distance etc,” he said.

General Gunaratne said however, that the next two weeks is crucial and the situation has to be monitored closely. “Thereafter, we will see what the situation is and take the required decisions at that time.”