12th April 2020 21:22:27 Hours
“Your dedicated and invaluable services at this critical stage of our history are greatly admired by HE the President, Hon Prime Minister, Secretary Defence and all Sri Lankans when the whole world remains crippled and threatened with this pandemic. Reposing faith in us, HE the President, our Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces appointed me as the Head of the National Operation Center for Prevention of COVID-19 Outbreak and handed over this challenging task to the Sri Lanka Army since we have defended the Nation whenever its very existence was under threat. We, the Army is performing our part well as we proceed based on the theme ‘Nothing is Impossible’. All of us have a responsible role to play in keeping our country safe. Though our lives have changed now, and we cannot gather together with our near and dear ones in this New Year season, we can certainly be a proud citizen of the country by letting everyone else to be healthy by behaving ourselves well. To heal the Nation, you need equally to be healthy and it is therefore imperative that you take all precautions against the transmission of COVID-19 among all of you in keeping with strict health guidelines,” declared Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva, Chief of Defence Staff and Commander of the Army during his New Year addresses to the troops serving under Mullaittivu, Kilinochchi and Jaffna when the former visited those formations during Sunday (12).
Lieutenant General Silva commenced his north bound itinerary on Saturday (11) by visiting at first Mannar troops in the 54 Division and isolated Tharavikulam village where some 4000 plus villagers are in quarantine after a positive COVID-19 patient from Puttalam had interacted with those villagers. During his sojourn in Mannar, he spoke to hundreds of troops at roadblocks, HQ, Brigades and units and shared New Year sentiments with them. His first stopover was Mullaittivu before he called at troops serving under SFHQ-Kilinochchi and SFHQ-Jaffna.
Addressing maximum numbers of contingents of troops during his visits, the Army Chief en route also paused to speak to troops manning roadblocks along A 9 Road and other roads in the northern province and shared a word with them. Troops serving Security Force Headquarters, Division Headquarters, Brigade Headquarters and a few other formations listened to the Commander attentively where he profusely appreciated their dedicated hard work while heaping greetings and best wishes on account of the forthcoming Sinhala & Hindu New Year.
“Although we would not be able to commemorate the New Year this time, mind that your decisive national role at this critical moment is priceless and essentially crucial for all segments of people in our society. If I remind you of the very start of this COVID -19 pandemic, we, the Sri Lanka Army was the first to establish two quarantine centers for Sri Lankan expatriates returning from Italy, Iraq, Iran and South Korea for quarantine process. But as of today we have established nearly 50 quarantine centres, a few of which are managed by the Navy and the Air Force. We have achieved these goals within a very short period of time due to untiring hard work done by you all at this critical moment. However, this pandemic is threatening hundreds of countries by now. Therefore your service in this regard particularly those in the Sri Lanka Army Medical Corps, other Infantry Regiments, Engineers Service Regiment, Sri Lanka Ordnance Corps, Sri Lanka Army Service Corps including all other Regiments must be gratefully appreciated and highly commended. Compared to other countries, Sri Lanka is performing their tasks in a commendable manner. For this, the support being extended by HE the President, Hon Prime Minister, Secretary Defence, Tri-Forces, Health Ministry, the Government, and the Media is excellent and their support still continues in order to save the Nation. Therefore I would like to thank all of them on behalf of our country. We are passing the fifth week after detection of the first COVID - 19 victim and we can still be content with the progress we have achieved to that effect,” the Commander pointed out.
In addition to his visits to the Security Force Headquarters in Mullaittivu, Kilinochchi and Jaffna, he also interacted with troops in the 64 Division, 52 Division, 574 Brigade and 552 Brigade where he spoke on the same lines as mentioned above and extended best wishes for the New Year while requesting them to convey his greetings to members of their families.
Likewise, Lieutenant General Silva in his capacity as the Chief of Defence Staff did not forget to meet All Ranks at the the Air Force Base in Palaly and Northern Naval Command. At first, he called at the Air Force base in Palaly and shared a few thoughts with Air Force troops. After a while, he also met troops aboard the Naval ship, ‘Uttara’ and addressed them in the wake of the dawn of the New Year and later on visited the newly-built pier. He was warmly received by the Navy Deputy Chief of Staff and Area Commander Rear Admiral S.M.D.K Samaraweera on arrival at the venue. .
Commander, Security Forces in Mullaittivu, Major General Deepthi Jayathilaka, Commander, Security Forces in Kilinochchi, Major General Jayantha Gunarathne, Commander, Security Forces in Jaffna, Major General Ruwan Wanigasooriya, General Officers Commanding, Brigade Commanders, Commanding Officers, Senior Officers and Officers were associated with the Commander’s itinerary in the northern province.