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Mahinda convenes all-party meet on COVID-19 preparedness

File photo of Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa

File photo of Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa   | Photo Credit: Shiv Kumar Pushpakar

MPs suggest reconvening of House for better coordination

As Sri Lanka’s Parliament stands dissolved since early March, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa convened an all-party leaders’ meeting on Tuesday to discuss the government’s ongoing strategies in combating COVID-19 that has affected over 100 persons so far.

“I emphasised the need of working together to successfully battle #COVID19. All present were in agreement and pledged full support. #TogetherWeCan #COVID19SL,” Mr. Rajapaksa said in a tweet.

Meanwhile, some participants suggested that the Prime Minister and the government consider reconvening Parliament to help MPs coordinate better in districts. Tamil National Alliance spokesman M.A. Sumanthiran said in a tweet: “Reconvening #Parliamant was raised at the Party Leaders’ Mtg by @Rauff_Hakeem [Sri Lanka Muslim Congress Leader] and myself. It is not necessary to meet physically in one place but it is important to have an active Parliament so that feedback from the people are received and for better accountability.” While there has been no official response yet, Mr. Sumanthiran tweeted that there was a “favourable response” to his suggestion.

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa dissolved Parliament and announced general elections for April 25 that now stand indefinitely postponed.

Sri Lankan public health authorities, along with a national task force being headed by the Army commander, has implemented various measures, including an enforced curfew in the country. Over 2,000 people have been arrested since Friday for violating it.

When the curfew was temporarily lifted on Tuesday morning, long queues were seen outside supermarkets but adequate arrangements were made to manage the crowd.

The government said it is organising door-to-door delivery of essentials in capital Colombo, Gampaha and Kaluthara districts.

Meanwhile, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has asked legal experts and the Department of Prisons to explore the possibility of granting some relief to the prisoners who were charged with minor offences.

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Printable version | Apr 5, 2020 2:40:12 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/mahinda-convenes-all-party-meet-on-covid-19-preparedness/article31156817.ece

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