Another prolonged lockdown will kill our economy: Ranil
Posted on July 15th, 2020

Courtesy The Daily News

Whist stating that another prolonged lockdown will kill Sri Lanka’s economy, former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe proposed that political parties, health experts and other bodies discuss the Public Health Emergency Bill proposed by some opposition parties and enact as soon as new Parliament meet.

Mr. Wickremesinghe came up with is proposal while addressing an election rally in Biyagama yesterday.

Some former MPs and I met during the last lock down period and drafted the Public Health Emergency Bill. I suggest that parties, health experts and other bodies initiate a dialogue on it, so their amendments could be entertained. Enacting this Bill would be the first thing a UNP government will do if elected to office,” Mr. Wickremesinghe said.

Several countries such as Italy enacted new laws under which restrictions are imposed on movements and other steps without lock down. However Sri Lanka has not thought of it yet. It is high time Sri Lanka gave a thought to it, as another lock down will kill the country’s economy,” he added.

The drafted Bill provides power to Parliament to pass a resolution by a two thirds majority declaring a state of public health emergency upon written advise of Director General Health, provides provision for Parliament, Courts, Cabinet and Public Health Emergency Council to sit, convene and hold sessions through the use of contemporaneous or near contemporaneous audio visual linkage during the period of public health linkage and provides provisions for a person to enjoy services of any institution via technology from a state institution. The Bill also provides for the setting up of a Public Health Emergency Council headed by the President and includes Prime Minister, Leader of Opposition, Ministers in charge of Health, Defence, Social Welfare, Home Affairs, Science and Technology, police, finance, foreign affairs, education, director general health, a nominee by the speaker.

The Bill provides power to the Minister of Health to prohibit or restrict public assemblies, religious worship, travel to and from places for 14 days. It also gives legal provisions to set up quarantine centres. The proposed Bill gives power to the Director General of Health to prohibit transportation of persons through ports, airports and other entry points for a similar period. It gives legal provision to the closure of any education institution.

Eight COVID-19 cases reported so far today

Eight more persons tested positive for COVID-19 as at 7.30 pm today increasing the total number of cases to 2,671, the Health Ministry said.

Five persons arrived from Qatar, two from United Arab Emirates (UAE) and one person who is a close contact of one of the positive cases reported from the Kandakadu cluster were among those tested positive today.

The Epidemiology Unit said 659 patients are under medical care right now while 2,001 patients have recovered and discharged from hospitals.

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