Colombo, March 19 (www.defence.lk): The Sri Lankan Ministry of Defense has put its intelligence agencies on alert to identify and catch those who spread rumors about the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
Defense Secretary Maj.Gen.(Rtd) Kamal Gunaratne in a statement on Thursday that warned rumor mongers to avoid making misleading statements using the cyber space to create unnecessary tension among people over the government’s efforts to mitigate coronavirus or COVID – 19.
He requested all Sri Lankans, including those who are living abroad, to support government’s efforts to contain coronavirus outbreak by being indoors and following the advices given by the Health and Defense ministries.
Making a statement on measures taken by the Ministry to contain COVID-19 situation, he said similar to the responsibilities held by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, all state institutions coming under Defence and other ministries, including the Tri-Forces and Police, all Sri Lankans were required to come forward to protect country’s population of 22 million people from the COVID-19 and also act responsibly without inflicting an artificial fear among the public.
“This is similar to how the entire country got together to defeat terrorism in 2009. The government needs the support of all citizens of Sir Lanka irrespective of their differences to face the coronavirus outbreak,” the Defense Secretary said.
He said as the Defense Secretary he could assure that all the required measure had been taken by the Tri-forces, Police and all related intelligence agencies, which were working around the clock to mitigate the spread of the virus.
Gen. Gunaratne said the people who were directed to quarantine centres should not have any fear as it was done to control the spread of the virus and requested people to be in their own houses to undergo self-quarantine process, which was the best measure to contain spreading the virus.
“When a suspected coronavirus infected individual is identified, we direct them to a hospital such as the IDH and take all necessary measures to provide medical treatment. Taking precautionary measures will not end after admitting the patient to the hospital as we will find those who associated with the patients and, if we fail to trace their whereabouts we will get the assistance of the intelligence agencies to track them to put them on self-quarantine process in their own houses,” he explained.
The Defense Secretary said the Police were issuing stickers to houses of those who were under self-quarantine for 14-days not to isolate them from their own societies but to isolate them from others to prevent further spreading of COVID-19.
Gen. Gunaratne said the Tri-Forces personnel, who were committed and had stepped into facilitate 14-day quarantine process, were also given all the necessary protection gears to safeguard them from the virus as they were directly working with the patients.
Referring to Police curfew in certain parts of the island, the Defense Secretary said it was imposed not to create hardships to people but as an effective measure by restricting unnecessary movements of a particular high risk area to mitigate spreading of COVID-19.
He said being a small nation Sri Lanka could be a good example to the world on how the country had mitigated spreading COVID-19, which had become a global pandemic.
Defense Secretary warned the rumour mongers not to post any false or misleading information and damaging posts on social media platforms related to on-going Government’s efforts to control COVID-19 as the intelligence agencies were strengthened and empowered to nab such irresponsible people or groups.
“Sri Lanka has set an example to the world on defeating terrorism 10-years back as all Sri Lankans, who yearned for a peaceful country, were united for a single cause. It is the time for us to be united again to defeat COVID-19 to set an example to the world,” he said requesting more public assistance.