Health Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said that certain groups are deliberately attempting to destroy the Government’s successful COVID-19 mitigation programme by sacrificing the lives of health care workers and other officials.
The Minister said that it is the responsibility of the Government to provide maximum health care to the people, which is a fundamental right, and therefore the Ministry of Health is bound to provide it for all citizens of the country.
Minister Rambukwella was speaking at a media briefing held at the Ministry of Health yesterday morning (15).
He also said that if any group acts in a low manner to mobilize the people at this moment, it will be a great threat to the health of the people as a whole.
Speaking further the Minister said, the Gazette Notification issued by the Ministry of Health during the COVID pandemic stated that the people of the country behave within certain limits. It clearly defines the gathering of individuals. But today it seems that the Opposition in our country is trying to violate it. There is no problem in holding protests, agitations and criticisms on their behalf. But it remains to be seen whether this is the right time.
Accordingly, public meetings and gatherings of people in public places have been suspended. This will continue until the COVID disaster is further minimized.
“Some say we are bringing the whole country and shaking Colombo. We have seen such protests many times in history. People have such a right to protest. But at the moment, such statements as well as such attempts are giving rise to the image of a serious catastrophe. No protest or campaign will ever take place through health guidelines. These are being done in blatant violation of health guidelines. In such a situation we as the Ministry have to stand up for the safety of the health of the people,” he added.
“Over the past two years or so, we have experienced a great deal of success in controlling the pandemic through various experiences, and at times we have even encountered bitter situations. Although the Opposition carried out various campaigns against the vaccination at the outset, we have so far vaccinated 72.4 percent of the total population. Around 70 percent of targetted school children and 59.3 percent of 20-29-year-olds have been vaccinated. Only a few countries in the world are currently referring to a third vaccine. We have overcome this and are now giving booster vaccines. At present, 14.5 million vaccines have been ordered for this purpose. After giving the vaccine to the front-line personnel including the health sector, the vaccination will be given to those above 60 years of age on a priority basis.
Director-General of Health Services Dr. Asela Ganawardena was also present on the occasion.