Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva, Chief of Defence Staff and Commander of the Sri Lanka Army and Head of the National Operational Centre for Prevention of COVID-19, addressed the monthly committee meeting of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce on ‘The Successful Management of the COVID-19 Pandemic in Sri Lanka and the Way Forward’ recently.
Noting that managing the pandemic wasn’t a singular effort, Lieutenant General Silva elaborated on how the virus was contained in the country, and of the way forward, including the military’s expected contribution in the future.
One of the major factors in managing the pandemic was anticipation and timely decision-making with the assistance of healthcare experts, the military, police, disaster management authorities, key economic figures, intellectuals, researchers, and development agencies. Thereafter, efforts were strategized into three pillars; namely containment, the prevention of further spreading, and minimising losses of life.
“As a prime contender, the Sri Lanka military was handling quarantine. The choice of military for the confinement was justified as we continued to build, develop, renovate, and function more than fifty quarantine centres throughout the island,” he said.
Synergised planning, functional and effective grouping which prevented the spread, strategic communication, and innovative readjustment of strategies were key in managing to control the pandemic.
The final important point, he said, was public support. Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva pointed out how other countries that were still struggling to contain the disease had discontinuity in the six factors he identified above.
Speaking about post COVID-19 and the way forward, he stated how security was the basis for post COVID-19 economic rejuvenation. This included economic security, State and public security, food security, cyber security, environmental security, and more.
“Sri Lankan security forces have always leaped to ensure the country is brought back to normalcy during every threat. We have been acting beyond the call of duty to oversee the normalcy of the country. Our soldiers are trained, decisive, and have an array of experience in combatting traditional and non-traditional threats, such as extremism, natural disasters, and the most recent pandemic,” he added.
While security is a major component of the COVID-19 exit, working to enhance economic resilience, and keeping an eye out for new business opportunities, especially in the fields of tourism, transportation, and medical care were points to keep in mind.
Furthermore, Sri Lanka needs to explore positives, learn from the past, and believe in leadership and the system.
Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva assured the Ceylon Chamber that he would guide the armed forces to re-instate the country from peril and ensure that the national security environment was sustainable.
“I would also like to request our economic counterparts to join hands with us and stand firmly to be Sri Lankan,” he concluded.