We will have to maintain a balance between steps taken to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus disease on the one hand and the restoration of normality on the other, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa stated yesterday.

“Even countries like Italy, Britain, France and the USA which experienced tens of thousands of Coronavirus related deaths have commenced programmes for the gradual restoration of normal life. What is meant by restoring normality is the process of extending the restoration of public life in a controlled way, to the sections of the population that had been confined to their homes during the shutdown,” Prime Minister Rajapaksa said, issuing a special statement.

Prime Minister Rajapaksa said Government and private sector institutions will begin functioning with a limited number of employees. “The number of passengers on trains and buses will be limited. Schools and tuition classes will remain closed. Social distancing norms are to be maintained when commencing work in this phased manner.”

“We should be aware that even though the spread of Coronavirus has been brought under control, it has not been eradicated completely. Random sample testing will continue. Quarantine centres will be kept open. Even after the restoration of normality has begun, it may be necessary to isolate and lock down certain areas and even to impose police curfews,” he added.

The Prime Minister urged the public to be mindful of the need for social distancing even after the curfew is relaxed. “Coronavirus patients may continue to be found, but our health authorities have by now mastered the manner in which such situations should be handled.  We request the people to extend their fullest cooperation to the Armed Forces and Police for the phased restoration of normal life in the country.”  

The Prime Minister expressed his gratitude to Health, Armed Forces, Intelligence and other sectors for controlling the COVID-19 spread to the point where Sri Lanka is well ahead of most countries. “It's noteworthy that while 25 Sri Lankans resident in Britain have died of the Coronavirus, only nine Sri Lankans resident in Sri Lanka have died of this disease so far. It must also be stated that had Gotabaya Rajapaksa not been elected President on 16 November last year, none of these achievements would have been possible.”