A historic relief package has been announced by the government yesterday for the public in the backdrop of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Addressing the weekly Cabinet media briefing at the Government Information Department, Co-Cabinet spokesman Dr Bandula Gunawardena said the Cabinet of ministers has approved President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s proposal to temporary suspend repayment of leasing facilities for three wheelers, school vans, buses, small trucks and etc. for six months with aim of providing them with financial relief until they return back to normal.

He said the Cabinet approval has also given to suspend repayment of personal loans of less than Rs.one million obtained by non-executive public and private sector employees for three months.

Gunawardena said the deduction of loan repayments from public and private sector non – executive employees was also suspended until May according to the cabinet approval.

Several other reliefs meaasures to protect the apparel and tourism industry would also be given in the future as both industries are badly affected from the COVID – 19 situation.

“US$ Five billion of the US$ 11 billion export income is earned from apparel exports, but the raw material importing countries such as China and supply countries such as USA are badly affected by COVID – 19. Therefore, the industry has to face a huge challenge to protect workers,” Gunawardena said.

Co – Cabinet spokesman Dr Ramesh Pathirana said the Government is grateful to the three forces and police for their valuable contribution. during this period. He said that the Government also increased the benefits of Agrahara Insurance of public servants.

Dr. Pathirana said that World Health Organisation (WHO) too appreciates Sri Lanka government’s initiative to tackle the COVID – 19 outbreak.

He said that Sri Lankan companies are starting to make face masks as well as ventilators and it should be appreciated.

A Special Task Force headed by former minister Basil Rajapaksa was also set up to help people by delivering essential items to their doorsteps, he added.