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Ranil bounces back, claims Health Minister swigs ‘engine oil’

blames govt. for not assisting Oxford-J’pura dengue control project

UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe making a public appearance after several weeks said, on Sunday, that the government had not given any support to the joint research by the Dengue Control Centre at the University of Sri Jayewardenepura and the University of Oxford to find a cure for the coronavirus.

He said that the Health Minister was drinking what he called ‘engine oil’ without having purported cures tested.

Addressing a ground breaking ceremony for the new Rs. 900 million Lions’ Anniversary Vocational Training Centre at Biyagama, UNP leader Wickremesinghe said: “We turned Biyagama into a major industrial city. I have read in several reports that Katunayake is the second best trading zone in South Asia after Biyagama. We are proud of that. We must continue to hold that position.”

He said that Biyagama lacked a vocational training centre.

“Today, we are opening a Vocational Training Centre at the building which previously housed the Fertilizer Corporation. I thank the Lions Club. Nimal Senadheera, the then Sinha Commander, made this proposal. The then Minister Malik Samarawickrema approved it. This land which belonged to the Board of Investment (BOI).”

“The Lions Club in this area was started by Sunil Gunasekara. He worked hard to develop the Biyagama Lions Club. When the Lions Club started, some people protested. But later it contributed to the development of the area. I learned that some factories are also helping the project. In the past, only illegal liquor was here. I will do our best to help move this development forward.”

Wickremesinghe said it was just the beginning. “New careers are set to emerge in the future and therefore it is required to provide training.”

The former PM said that there was a need to introduce vocational training courses to suit the changing world.

He stressed that the Biyagama Zone should be protected as the best trade zone in South Asia. The work done by the Lions Club was exemplary. Due to the corona epidemic, the opening of the centre had to be postponed two or three times, he said.

The former Prime Minister said that the spread of the corona pandemic had become a major problem in the country, today. “The pandemic has spread to many parts of Colombo. Therefore, we must act with caution. According to reports, another wave of infections are likely to occur. That is what has happened in the US and the UK, which is about to go for another shutdown. Even in countries like, Japan, China and South Korea this pandemic is returning. Many Christian countries have even banned Christmas celebration,” the former Prime Minister said.

Wickremesinghe said the UK had predicted that there would be another wave of COVID-19 early next year. Gatherings have been restricted to four persons each even during Christmas in that country.

“The pandemic is not over yet. We must speak the truth about this issue. Officials are spreading various stories. One official says we are going to close the country. Another says we are going to open the country. The people have no idea of what is going on. If the country needs to be shut down, tell the people. Then people will be able to prepare for it. If the country is opened on certain conditions, say so. Do not change your mind from time to time. The corona wave is not over yet, and we have to be prepared for it.

“Many institutions say that vaccines have been produced, but they are still at the experimental stage and two people in the UK fell ill after being vaccinated.

“Even if the government provides the vaccine for free, it is unlikely that the corona pandemic will end. It will take another two or three years to see if the preventive measures are effective. Billions of people need to be vaccinated. The vaccine is being manufactured in Hyderabad, India. China has also developed a vaccine. But there is a question of how to keep the vaccines safe.”

Wickremesinghe said that research was being done on indigenous medicine in India.

“What has happened in Sri Lanka today? Take various medications.”

The Dengue Control Centre at the University of Sri Jayewardenepura in Sri Lanka and the University of Oxford are conducting joint experiments, he said.

“But our government is not doing anything. The British government has also provided assistance for experiments. The British High Commissioner has visited the Jayewardenepura University two or three times to inquire into the matter. The British High Commissioner mentioned this to me personally.”

The event was attended by a large number of people including Lions Club officials.

Source : Island

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