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Former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has called on the government to extend the current lockdown.

Despite the government declaring a 10-day lockdown, Wickremesinghe said that this period is insufficient to arrest the rapid spread of Covid-19 according to health authorities.

Issuing a statement on Thursday (26), the UNP leader said:

"On Monday and Tuesday, six people I knew passed away due to COVID-19.

Mangala Samaraweera, who spoke to Samantha Powers and requested vaccines for Sri Lanka has also passed away.

In addition to him, Mr. Rajamahendran, similarly D.S. Wijesinghe President’s Council, are among the large number of well-known people who have become victims to COVID-19.

There is a rapid spread of COVID. The number of deaths came up to 5,000 on August 7, twenty days later by the end of this day it will be 8,000.

3000 deaths have taken place in twenty 20 days. That is a high rate, the number of people affected will be about 50,000.

The epidemiology unit has said that there have been late entries, so they will have revise these numbers by about 4,000. This means that the statistics are also being questioned.

Nevertheless we know that there is a rapid spread of COVID, and we have to prevent that. We have to prevent people being impacted by COVID-19.

What is happening at the moment is deal with those who are already infected, then if we stop the rapid spread then we can reduce the number of those infected and control it.

The government declared a ten-day lockdown for this purpose. This has received everyone’s support, but according to the medical advice this is not a sufficient period. Another week to two weeks are required.

The other side of it is the economic damage that can be caused by a lockdown, but today we have reached a point where the damage caused by a lockdown is far less than the damage caused by not having a lockdown.

The remedy for this is to immediately go to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to get assistance.

Already we have received USD 720 million from the IMF for our COVID control campaign.

So therefore, I would like to recommend to the government, to the President, to the Prime Minister and the Cabinet of Ministers that we extend this lockdown according to medical advice.

Just as much as we have supported the lockdown for ten days, I am sure that the whole country will support a further lockdown in accordance with the medical advice."