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12th June 2021 16:35:00 Hours

"Military Troops are There to Ease Burdens & Assist Health Professionals, Not for any Interference" -Head, NOCPCO

"The Army and service personnel for COVID-19 control work have been deployed as frontliners exclusively to assist health professionals on the directives of HE the President since he is well aware of the capacity, full potential and professional capabilities of the military and this all-time prepared assistance should not be misunderstood or misinterpreted as 'interference' in professional health work. As we understand, some procedures and red tape adopted by certain health administrators at ground level need to get up steam as there are so many inordinate delays in transmission of updates, "so commented General Shavendra Silva, Head, NOCPCO, Chief of Defence Staff and Commander of the Army.

Contributing his views to one more session of the Task Force at NOCPCO this morning (12), attended by epidemiologists, health specialists, members of the expert committee and other stakeholders, General Shavendra Silva pointed out that transmission of varying accounts and updates as regards detection of positive cases and COVID-19 deaths, appears not coherent all the time and outdated, adding confusion to relevant authorities, members of the public and finally to the NOCPCO as the releasing point in coordination with health and government authorities.

Saturday's (12) Task Force session was chaired by General Shavendra Silva, Head, NOCPCO, Chief of Defence Staff and Commander of the Army and Dr Asela Gunawardene, Director General of Health Services.

General Shavendra Silva thanked the epidemiology unit for their presence today, dedicated contribution during this pandemic amidst good and bad comments and criticisms, but wanted their procedures to be further expedited and streamlined for greater credibility. Reportages on deaths in the last 3 weeks, for example, were giving a complicated picture and the need for speedy strategies for transmission of such information as early as possible has to be taken into serious consideration. He also touched upon the ongoing programme for vaccination and how travel restrictions would work in the coming days.

Commenting on reasons that were attributed to the imposition of extended travel restrictions, he said that extensive discussions with experts and their recommendations in turn prompted HE the President to decide on extended travel restrictions for the betterment of all Sri Lankans. He explained that the country cannot be kept closed down continuously since ours is a developing country with a small economy, etc. It was the view of HE the President, Prime Minister and the government, he added.

Meanwhile, the Director General of Health Services during this discussion while announcing that steps would be taken to resolve those issues and explained the vaccination process as well as the delays in reporting the deaths. Epidemiology unit representatives also voiced their strategy for conducting PCRs, random PCR tests, rapid antigen tests, etc in line with the latest government circulars.

This discussion also deeply concentrated on the precise functioning of the process and the need to maintain the effectiveness and efficiency of all sectors, especially for conduct of PCR tests, rapid antigen tests, patient evacuation, laboratory process, death reporting, legal process, data transferring, vaccination, positive rates, use of technology with committed concern as responsible parties under the direction of HE the President, Head of the National Task Force.

Other expert committee members expressed their solutions and views during this expert committee discussion.