Health guidelines for Covid-19: Gazette further delayed

* AG’s approval granted last week
* PHIs threaten union action from 15th

By Maheesha Mudugamuwa

The issuance of the gazette related to Covid-19 health guidelines issued for the upcoming parliamentary election has been further delayed, The Morning learnt.

The gazette was to be issued as soon as the guidelines were issued last month as a request made by the Election Commission (EC) and public health inspectors (PHIs) as they continuously demanded to give a legal approach to the guidelines so as to make it easier for them to maintain public health as well as conduct the election as per the guidelines. Nevertheless, the Ministry of Health is yet to issue the guidelines.

When contacted, Director General of Health Services (DGHS) Dr. Anil Jasinghe said the issuance of the gazette falls not under his purview but under the purview of Minister of Health Pavithra Wanniarachchi.

Speaking to The Morning, PHIs Union of Sri Lanka (PHIUSL) Treasurer D.Y.S.R.R. Mudalige stressed that the decision on whether to withdraw from election-related Covid-19 duties would be taken on 15 July as the Ministry is yet to issue the relevant gazette, even though the Minister had promised to do so several times before.

“They promised many times, but the gazette is yet to be issued,” he said.

On several occasions, the PHIs demanded to increase more powers to them by issuing a gazette under the Quarantine and Prevention of Diseases Ordinance, and several rounds of discussion had also been held. However, no final decision has been made yet.

However, the Attorney General’s (AG) Department last week approved quarantine health regulations forwarded by the Ministry of Health to be implemented during the general election scheduled for 5 August.