COLOMBO, Dec. 1 (Xinhua) -- Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has appointed a new state minister for COVID-19 prevention, as the virus has affected over 23,000 people and caused 118 deaths, local media reported Tuesday.
A statement released by the President's Office said President Rajapaksa had appointed Dr. Sudarshani Fernandopulle as the state minister of Primary Health Services, Pandemics and COVID Prevention, a new portfolio created in the government.
"President is of the view that the development and expansion of primary health care services is vital to ensure a high level of health care for the people, especially in rural areas," the statement said.
With the spread of COVID-19, President Rajapaksa decided that a policy and practical mechanism should be put in place to preemptively identify and control the spread of pandemics and the new ministry was created to meet this goal, the statement added.
Dr. Fernandopulle was previously the state minister of Prison Reforms and Prisoners Rehabilitation.
Till Tuesday morning, Sri Lanka recorded 23,987 COVID-19 patients out of which 17,506 patients had been discharged, bringing down the active patient count to 6,309.
Some areas of capital Colombo are under a lockdown due to the spread of the virus. Enditem