The Sri Lankan president on Monday fired the health minister who publicly endorsed magic and sorcery to fight Kovid 19, as corona virus infections and deaths have reached record highs.
The office of President Gotabhaya Raja Pakse said that the portfolio of health of Poithra Vannyarachi has been handed over to Media Minister Kehlia Ram Bakweela, who is also the spokesperson of the government.
Waniharchi was under intensive care after contracting the virus in January, despite public use against the wizard’s coveted 19 and advocating “magic medicine”.
He also poured a vessel of “blessed” water into a river in November when a self-styled theologian told him it would end the epidemic on the island of 21 million people.
Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Health Vanaryachi came under fire last week for reducing coronavirus infections.
Despite the dismissal, she will remain in the cabinet – the president has given her a less important ministry of transport.
The daily death toll from the virus has topped 150 in the past week, with huge cemeteries.
The number of infections per day has exceeded 3,000, and hospitals are struggling to cope, with government health workers saying the actual number of infections could triple.
The government has so far rejected lockdown calls to curb the rise, but tightened sanctions last week.
Weddings and parties have been banned since Tuesday, while state celebrations and public gatherings are also banned until September 1.
Shops, restaurants and officials will have to abide by the curfew from Monday night.
In a cabinet reshuffle, Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena and Education Minister Gemini Lakshman Paris exchanged portfolios.
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