May 25, 2020

Don't class us in same lot as politicians - Dr. Jasinghe

Director General of Health Services - Dr. Anil Jasinghe has made an open appeal not to class them in the same lot as politicians.

During a TV programme on the state owned Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation (SLRC), the senior health official said that although he had issued health directives with regard to holding an election, he firmly said it should go hand in hand with several other factors such as strengthening quarantine laws and introducing this new normalcy to the country through social marketing.

"Without these, if Covid-19 returns in three more weeks, it won't be possible to do anything, let alone holding elections," he sternly noted adding that everyone including the government, the opposition should understand this.

"Do not class us into the same lot as politicians. We do not engage in politics. We have worked hard in the government sector for 30 years amid many challenges... We have never lobbied for for any politician or any political party. Anyone can engage in political dialogues and debates but please don't involve us in those," he said.

Recommendation given to P.B.

Speaking further Dr. Jasinghe said, "As the first officer in the Public Service, secretary to the president, P.B. Jayasundara formally inquired from me on the health situation with regard to holding the General Election."

I responded mentioning the prevailing condition of the country. It was not done from a political standpoint, he said.

Dr. Jasinghe further said :

Although the country is reopened, it does not reduce the risk of Covid-19. Therefore, it is mandatory to follow health habits necessary to control the disease. Quarantine laws should be strictly implemented, he also said.

The country will be reopened according to health directives. Therefore, I urge politicians not to interfere in this matter. President Gotabhaya Rajapaksa also follows the guidelines provided by the health sector. Despite this, some politicians have been interfering and pressurizing to reopen various sectors of the country, soon. As public servants, it is very stressful for us, Dr. Jasinghe added.

During thirty years of service as a government officer, I have worked independently. Health decisions were not taken according to the needs of political parties, he further noted.