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27th June 2020 18:10:58 Hours

Malwatte-Asgiriiya Prelates Commend NOCPCO Head for COVID-19 Roles & Highlight Need for Continued Health Precautions

Most Ven Thibbotuwawe Sri Siddhartha Sumangalabhidana Maha Nayake Thero of Malwatte Chapter and Most Ven Warakagoda Sri Gnanarathanabhidana Maha Nayake Thero of Asgiriya Chapter in Kandy during an audience Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva, Head of the National Operation Centre for Prevention of COVID-19 Outbreak (NOCPCO), Chief of Defence Staff and Commander of the Army had this morning (27), heaped full of praise on Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva and exceptional roles, being performed by Army troops in the control of COVID-19 epidemic in the country and underlined the need to maintain and continue the status quo with all possible health practices intact since the epidemic has still not been eradicated from the country.

Most Ven Thibbotuwawe Sri Siddhartha Sumangalabhidana Maha Nayake Thero commended the leadership and guidance of the Head of the NOCPCO throughout and pointed out that Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva's appeals for public cooperation and assistance were well taken up in good faith and confidence during the height of the outbreak and its transmission in the past few months. Army troops joining hands with health sector workers were seen rendering an incredible service, irrespective of dangers being posed to their own lives and the manner they attended to those quarantine procedures in an impressive way begs no words. The entire Sangha fraternity is well appreciative of your exemplary commitment with members of the tri forces, and that dedication indeed is a national pride, Ven Maha Nayake Thera remarked.

During Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva's audience with Most Ven Warakagoda Sri Gnanarathana Maha Nayake Thero of Asgiriya Chapter, the prelate insisted the need for maintenance of continued precautionary and preventive measures against the epidemic among the public, which was also endorsed by Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva during the interactions. The Maha Nayake Thero drew parallels between Sri Lanka and other countries and praised HE the President and his government for their control machinery. Lieutenant General Silva's tireless commitment day and night with his troops succeeded in bringing the epidemic to some control, but no room should be left for it to rise its ugly head again, like in some other countries, the Maha Nayake Thero cautioned.

In addition, Lieutenant General Silva briefed both prelates on prposed Army plans to launch an island-wide re-cultivation project for barren lands and unattended paddy-fields with the intention of supporting the government's cultivation (waga sangramaya) drive that would boost food production. He also told the prelates that the Army in future would actively assist bust organized drug trafficking in the country and use of narcotics with the support of other law enforcement authorities.

Head of the NOCPCO, Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva in turn updated both prelates and appraised them of current roles, being played by tri services and explained him about the management of island-wide Quarantine Centres, functions of the Presidential Task Force for COVID-19, control measures in effect against further transmission among Armed Forces and need for continued surveillance with all health precautions as advised by authorities. Both prelates towards the end of those visits to their monasteries, separately invoked blessings on Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva and the troops, engaged in COVID-19 projects. Lieutenant General Silva also offered 'Pirikara' and symbolic Dagoba replicas to both Maha Nayake Theros during courtesy visits to Malwatte and Asgiriya monasteries.

During his stay in Kandy, Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva at the invitation of the Diyawadana Nilame (chieftain) at Sri Dalada Maligawa had the rare privilege of planting a 'Devadara' sapling in the Maligawa premises as a symbol of memory to the sacred premises since the outbreak of the epidemic. He also paid obeisance to the sacred Tooth Relic and participated in a special Pooja (offering), arranged by the chieftain. The Pooja invoked blessings on the Army Chief, troops and the public and appealed for normalcy and prosperity to the country, devoid of all epidemics and disasters.

On his way back, Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva called at Sri Chandananda International Buddhist Centre, Asgiri Piriven Maha Viharaya, Kobbekaduwa Saamavardhanaramaya and Nelligala International Buddhist Centre at Nelligala and spent some time separately with those custodian monks, explaining the status quo as regards the prevention of COVID-19, importance of sustained health precautions, Army's future projects, etc.

Major General Jaliya Senarathna, General Officer Commanding, 11 Division was also associated with the day's visits.