Members of Parliament are currently debating the Coronavirus Disease 2019 Temporary Provisions Bill in Parliament.
The second reading of the bill commenced this morning before Speaker of House Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena.
Meanwhile, the opposition questions the rationale behind the government’s move to not impose a hard lockdown despite repeated calls by experts and organisations.
Speaking in Parliament today, Parliamentarian Rajitha Senaratne said although several experts and organisations have called for a lockdown, the government has been defiant and working on a policy of its own and putting the lives of people at risk.
He said based on the current figures, 30 specialists of the World Health Organisation, the Association of Medical Specialists in Sri Lanka and several other health unions have called for the imposition of a strict lockdown.
MP Rajitha Senaratne said the government has however disregarded such calls.
He noted a State Minister has claimed that the government is prepared to lock the country down if doctors and specialists request for it.
MP Senaratne questioned as to how the government and Ministers in charge of Health ignore such calls and make ignorant statements to deceive the public.
He also said the very same State Minister has indicated that the public should exercise maximum caution since the country is going through a critical phase.
MP Rajitha Senaratne said such irrational statements and actions have resulted in the daily death rate climbing at an alarming rate.
He said a country cannot tackle a health crisis by concealing information.
MP Senaratne noted that Sri Lanka is ranked among few of the worst performing nations in terms of dealing with the COVID-19 crisis.
He said according to a recent census conducted jointly by the United Nations and the World Bank, Sri Lanka is placed second among the countries with worst daily death rates per a million people.
He said among weekly death figures, Sri Lanka is placed fourth among nations while the country’s death increment is worst among all nations rated in the census.
MP Rajitha Senaratne said Sri Lanka is performing 15-fold worst than India in terms of deaths at present.
He said although the government is attempting to conceal such information, the real data will be exposed.
Parliamentarian Rajitha Senaratne said recently when the government claimed 3,629 COVID-19 cases were recorded in a week in Gampaha, the actual number was revealed to be 12,555.
He said attempts have been made to conceal 8,629 COVID-19 cases from the public.
MP Rajitha Senaratne therefore urged authorities to reveal the real numbers to the public and obtain the assistance of all Sri Lankans to end the crisis.
Former President Maithripala Sirisena said health officials, media, Tri-Forces, Police, state officials, the political authority and religious leaders must intervene and provide strength for the public and give them hope.
The former President noted it is important to fix the people’s mentality.
MP Sirisena also suggested that President Gotabaya Rajapaksa call an all-party meeting, under the prevailing situation.
He noted all factions must unite despite differences to defeat the COVID-19 pandemic, and move forward as a country.