Trade unions threaten to shut down country from next week

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By Rathindra Kuruwita

A number of Opposition trade unions on Tuesday night warned that they will lockdown the country from next week, if the government does not do so.

Addressing a press conference, Government Nursing Officers Union (GNOU) leader Saman Ratnapriya said that health officials could identify about 80% of COVID-19 cases within a week of a lockdown and the rest in following week.

“Let’s isolate most of the cases and give a much-needed break to the health sector,” he said.

College of Medical Laboratory Science (CMLS) President, Ravi Kumudesh too urged the government to be more flexible and listen to medical experts who are warning of the danger of a late lockdown.

National Organiser of the National Trade Union Centre (NTUC) Wasantha Samarasinghe, said that they would join with all unions to close down the country based on the recommendations of health experts.

“I urge everyone to self-lockdown because we are heading for a colossal disaster,” he said.

Meanwhile, Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) too urged the public to go into a self-imposed lockdown, at least during the next 10 days.

The SJB in a statement alleges that the government has no intention or a plan of action to save the lives of the people.

“The government is putting the lives of people at risk. Given that it has no plan, the government is responsible for each life lost by COVID-19,” SJB leader Sajith Premadasa said.

Premadasa said that most people are dumbfounded by the attitude taken by the government. Not only are people dying in large numbers, but the health sector is at the point of collapse, he said.

“A number of local and international medical experts, including the World Health Organization (WHO) had called for an urgent scientific lockdown in Sri Lanka However, the government continues to disregard these instructions and acts arbitrarily,” the SJB leader said.

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