ITN CEO decries attempt to take political mileage | Sunday Observer
Journo found negative in second test

ITN CEO decries attempt to take political mileage

18 October, 2020
 Nalin Kumara Nissanka
Nalin Kumara Nissanka

Chief Executive Officer of ITN Nalin Kumara Nissanka accused certain political parties of trying to gain cheap publicity and political advantage following an Independent Television Network (ITN) journalist being tested positive for Covid-19 during a random PCR test conducted in the ITN premises.

The UNP in a media release on Friday called upon the government to hold an inquiry into the allegation that the state journalist had covered press conferences while awaiting results of a Covid-19 test.

He told the Sunday Observer yesterday that the test was not done on suspicion but it was only a random test. He decried the irresponsible behaviour of social media and rumour mongers.

“Following the report of the first Covid-19 patient in Minuwangoda on October 3, the ITN management called upon the health authorities to conduct PCR tests on the 42-member ITN crew who participated in the Savanak Res TV program telecast from Minuwangoda on October 1.

Forty-two members of the media team had the PCR tests conducted and 40 other ITN members including the Chairman, General Manager and I voluntarily faced the test. However, one member of this group was found positive in the first report,” Nissanka said.

Taking swift action, the management of the state media institution had isolated the employee and had conducted PCR tests of 30 close contacts of the employee.

“But we had doubts about the test result, since the particular employee did not show any symptoms whatsoever.

Therefore, we conducted a second test, which revealed that the employee had not been infected by the virus,” the CEO said. All 30 contacts of the journalist were also found negative.

He said, “We as a responsible state media institution, took maximum measures to prevent the Covid-19 spread in our work environment. We were the first media institution in the country to introduce disinfection rooms for those entering the premises.

We continued our services with one-fourth of our staff from March this year to comply with social distancing guidelines of the health authorities.