Sri Lanka cannot bounce back from the current economic crisis if it fails to control COVID-19. You need to control it to keep the domestic economies going
By Yohan Perera
Given the current situation it will take ten years for Sri Lanka’s economy to bounce back to the position it was before the initial COVID-19 outbreak, former prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said yesterday at Sirikotha.
In a special statement he said Sri Lanka’s future was uncertain because of the second outbreak.
“Sri Lanka cannot bounce back from the current economic crisis if it fails to control COVID-19. You need to control it to keep the domestic economies going. Many countries including those in the European region have controlled it. Sri Lanka too should do it. We will fall next year and the year after if we fail to control the disease. Bouncing back is not easy. We were in a similar situation from 1970 to 1977. Former president J. R. Jayewardene turned things around when he came to power. Does any one like to wait for ten years till the economy bounces back. Elections should be held on time but one has to see the country through from this crisis,” Mr. Wickremesinghe said.
He said the Welisara Navy camp was closed because of COVID-19 while Welikada prison was closed subsequently while schools are closed now.
“There is only one thing to be done. That is shut down the present government and appoint a new government. It has failed to come up with an effective programme to control COVID-19. There was a lock-down, which we welcomed and supported. Then we were accused of getting into a deal with the government. Several organisations suggested testing and tracing. Doctors unions called for testing and tracing before me. However the government did not respond,” Mr. Wickremesinghe said.
He said COVID-19 has begun to spread again while the government was focusing on holding elections.
“Elections cannot be postponed every day. We called for testing while the election was being held. It did not happen. Country is suffering because of it. COVID patients are everywhere. People are worried. Several private institutions are closed today. WHO recommended four steps to control the situation. These were testing, tracing, isolating and treatment. We did not implement any of these. Prime Minister, Health Minister Local Governdment Minister and provincial council and home affairs should have got together and dealt with the situation however that did not happen. One has to make political decisions whenever there is a crisis. This also did not happen,” Mr. Wickremesinghe said.
- There is only one thing to be done. That is shut down the present government down and appoint a new government in its place