By Sandun A Jayasekera
The time was ripe to introduce laws afresh to deal with those who challenge laws pertaining to the prevention of diseases and disrupt quarantine and disseminate fabrications, misinformation, misinterpretation and total lies during a major health crisis faced by the nation, Higher Education, Information, Communication Technology and New Inventions Minister Bandula Gunawardena said yesterday. If not, the archaic ‘Quarantine and Prevention of Disease Ordinance’ no. 3 of 1847 had to be replaced with a new Ordinance, he added.
Minister Gunawardena went on to say that the punishments prescribed in laws enacted more than a century ago by the colonial rulers were insufficient for today and had to be enhanced to confront today’s problems.
Addressing the media last morning at the Information Department, Minister Gunawardena said gossip and half baked news spread on CORONA-19 on social media had made the confronting of the newest and biggest health threat to the country a difficult task for the government. “There are no new infections in Sri Lanka other than the tour guide infected after helping a group of Italian tourists. The government has no intention whatsoever to postpone the general election or restrict political rallies, religious and social events. After the resounding victory at the Presidential polls in November, we want to hold the parliamentary election as soon as possible. It is the UNP that wants to get the elections postponed,” Minister Gunawardena stressed. I feel the UNP wants to postpone the election realising their imminent defeat. The opposition is behaving like a dog without a tail. A dog cannot show its love to its master when it does not have a tail. The UNP is like a dog without the tail when they say the government was in a move to postpone elections,” Minister Gunawardena stressed.
Minister Gunawardena said the cabinet, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa were meeting regularly to discuss CORONA-19 and arrive at decisions on controlling and preventing the spread of the disease.