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Distribution of essentials: Teething problems aplenty

Apr 6 (TM) Since the Govt imposed an indefinite islandwide curfew to curb the spread of Covid-19, only with the exception of short windows in several areas, the purchasing of essentials and medicines has become warfare for many families, especially those living in main towns in the Colombo and Kandy districts. During the past three weeks, many locals have complained of grocery, food, & medicine shortages despite more..

Aloe Vera nursery in Wilpattu buffer zone only tip of the iceberg: Environmentalists

Apr 6 (Island) Environmentalists called for an end to the large scale Aloe Vera cultivation project in the buffer zone of Wilpattu National Park in Track18, Rajanganaya. Centre for Environmental Justice (CEJ) Executive Director, Hemantha Withanage said that the USD 370 million investment by Aura Lanka Herbals Pvt. Ltd. Had been initiated recently without any technical evaluation. “It is just an Aloe Vera cultivation. That’s what everybody keeps saying even the govt officers. more..

Covid-19 cases climbs to 176 in Sri Lanka

Apr 6 (AD) The Ministry of Health confirms that one more patient has tested positive for the Coronavirus, increasing the total number of cases in the country to 176. The Epidemiology Unit of the Health Ministry states that 33 patients have recovered so far while 138 patients are currently under medical care. The number of deaths in Sri Lanka due to COVID-19 stands at 5. Over 250 suspected patients are under observation at selected hospitals. more..

Govt denies EPF allegation

Apr 6 (TM) Minister Dr. Bandula Gunawardana yesterday (4) said that the Govt had not taken any decision to utilise EPF monies to meet the financial deficit as alleged by JVP trade unions. However, Inter Company Employees Union (ICEU) President Wasantha Samarasinghe alleged that the Govt had explored the possibility of using EPF money, but later on had found that it was not enough to meet the financial requirements. more..

Two Sri Lankan cricket players left stranded in South Africa

Apr 6 (Island) The COVID – 19 Virus has caused inconvenience for many over the last two weeks and news is emerging of two cricket players from Sri Lanka who are left stranded in Cape Town, South Africa. The holiday destination of Cape Town was hosting the over 50 World Cup when the organizers were forced to abandon the competition halfway through and although most players of teams from all over the world made it back to their respective countries, some are left stranded in SA. more..

ASMET chief hopeful SL tourism industry will bounce back

Apr 6 (Island) President of Association of Small and Medium Enterprises in Tourism (ASMET), Rohan Abeywickrama, said SL’s tourism industry would be the first to bounce back in the region if the coronavirus threat could be overcome by end May. Abeywickrama, a veteran in the SME sector with over 40-years of experience under his belt, told ‘The Island’ that a leading Malaysian tour operator had recently made a tentative reservation for 140 pax for a week’s package tour of the country in Aug. more..

Updated curfew announcement

Apr 6 (PMD) The week from tomorrow, Monday the 6th April to Friday, the 10th April has been declared a period of work from home for the public as well as the private sector institutes. The last week too was a period of work from home. The curfew imposed in the districts of Colombo, Gampaha, Kalutara, Puttalam, Kandy and Jaffna which have been identified as High Risk Zones will continue until further notice. more..

Major fire at Kurunegala Teaching Hospital

Apr 6 (AD) A fire erupted in the pharmaceutical store of the Kurunegala Teaching Hospital at around 11 am this morning (5). It was doused in the joint efforts of the Kurunegala Municipal Fire Brigade, Kurunegala Police, STF and Army personnel and the hospital staff. Following the initial probes on the incident, it was revealed that 4 containers of highly concentrated disinfectant, which was being carried out from the store by a medical assistant, had caught fire. more..

CA to meet two days during Court vacation to consider bail applications

Apr 6 (FT) The Court of Appeal has fixed two days in April to deal with applications pertaining to bail in respect of inquires which have already been fixed and to take up other urgent matters. The Court will meet on 9 April and address bail matters, for which a motion will have to be filed by today (6). The CA had instructed in a circular that such motions will have to be filed electronically. “Though the Court is hamstrung by the non-availability of support staff to entertain fresh filings for bail more..

Online tea auctions to continue even after Covid-19

Apr 6 (TM) Using the first-ever online Colombo Tea Auction held yesterday (4) as a starting point, the tea industry plans to continue to hold online auctions even after the Covid-19 outbreak is contained. This was revealed by Ceylon Tea Traders’ Association (CTTA) Chairman Jayantha Karunaratne, who added that plans to conduct online tea auctions have been in the pipeline for years but it was never done. more..

Chamber Academy hosts first Work-From-Home Webinar

Apr 6 (DN) Taking the lead in empowering the private sector during COVID-19, Chamber Academy of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce in collaboration with FITIS and LK Domain Registry, hosted a webinar for over a hundred participants, on how to successfully work from home (WFH). The webinar covered an introduction to working from home, and the communication aspects of it by Prof. Gihan Dias, CEO of LK Domain Registry; Collaboration and Workflow Aspects by more..

Govt grants special allowance to Tourism sector employees

Apr 6 (DN) Minister Prasanna Ranatunga said govt has decided to extend the Rs.5,000 allowance granted to Samurdhi beneficiaries to those engaged in the Tourism sector affected by the battle to contain the COVID-19 pandemic in the country. Presidential Task Force established to administer essential services has taken this decision on the instructions of Prez Rajapaksa to ease the financial difficulties faced by low income and vulnerable families and individuals due to the COVID-19 outbreak, more..

Cricket will come out stronger against Covid-19: Mickey Arthur

Apr 6 (DN) Head coach of the SL cricket team Mickey Arthur believes that cricket will come out of the current Covid-19 pandemic stronger. In a Q&A conducted by the Sri Lanka Cricket media unit, Arthur said, “It really is a very unfortunate state of affairs around the world with the world in total lockdown now and all sports and most business coming to a standstill. I think firstly it is important to acknowledge the plight of more..

Sports & Youth Affairs Ministry staff donates day’s salary to fight Covid-19

Apr 6 (DN) The Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs has taken a decision for their entire staff to donate a day’s salary to the Presidential Task Force to support the govt in its fight against Covid-19. Secretary of the Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs K.D. Ruwanchandra said, “all the Sports and Youth Affairs activities have been stopped due to the Corona epidemic and we are doing our works from home and conducting meetings via online video conferences.” more..

COVID-19: Knowing what we don’t know

Apr 6 (FT) Our dialogues and consideration of what do with and about COVID-19 would benefit greatly by admitting a few things. *As of this writing we do not know any of the following with any degree of medical, data-underwritten certainty (as opposed to speculative modelling where there are competing, duelling models). 1.The actual death rate from COVID-19, 2.The infection rate, 3.The likely fatality rate going forward, 4.Or all those who currently have the disease! more..

The President in the Pandemic

Apr 6 (GV) It was Oct 1348. Bubonic plague, known to posterity as the Black Death, was sweeping across Europe. In Geneva, a man by the name of Agimet was arrested and made to sign a confession (he was twice put to torture a little, according to official documents). In his torture-propelled confession, Agimet says he poisoned wells to spread plague among gentiles, at the urging of a rabbi. For Agimet was Jewish. more..

Global, regional and country-specific cooperation to fight COVD-19

Apr 6 (CT) As Sri Lanka held the second All Party Conference in Colombo to arrive at a consensual approach to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, UNGA in New York unanimously adopted a resolution calling for increased global solidarity and international cooperation against the outbreak. UN resolution, which was prepared by Norway, Switzerland, Singapore, Indonesia, Liechtenstein and Ghana and sponsored by 188 countries, was unanimously approved in the 193- member assembly. more..

COVID-19: An alternate perspective in uncharted waters

Apr 6 (DM) It is said, “If you can stay positive in a negative situation, you win.” The population of the World is 7.6+billion. Therein, the population of South and South East Asia is 2.5+billion or nearly 33%. South Asia - 8 Nations, 1.94+billion people (Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and SL). South East Asia - 11 Nations, 0.66+billion people (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Myanmar, Laos, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Timor-Leste & Vietnam). more..

COVID-19: White Swan or a Black Swan?

Apr 6 (FT) The proponent of the Theory of Black Swan, Lebanese-American Essayist and New York Uni Academic, Nassim Taleb, has made a fine prediction in his third book in the Incerto Series, The Black Swan, which had gone unnoticed until today. In this book, first published in 2007, Taleb makes the following observation: ‘As we travel more on this planet, epidemics will be more acute – we will have a germ population dominated by more..

COVID-19 pandemic: A grim reminder

Apr 6 (Island) Over a million positive cases of corona virus disease (COVID-19) have been reported worldwide (1,018,150 cases as on 3rd April 2020) with 53,251 untimely deaths. Corona virus disease (COVID-19) was first reported in Wuhan, China, on 31 Dec 2019. United Nations health agency (WHO) had declared COVID-19 as a public health emergency of international concern on 30 Jan 2020 (same day when first case of COVID-19 was reported in India). more..

Editorial: Virus and victuals

Apr 6 (Island) Crisis and opportunity come together. The latter often goes unnoticed. The nations that see opportunities in crises and grab them achieve progress. All it took to bring the developed world to its knees, just like its developing counterpart, was a microorganism. Coronavirus has upended the whole world, which won’t be the same ever again even when the ongoing global health emergency is over. Whoever would have thought automobile giants, catering to the global super rich, would have more..

Covid-19 Situation

How Sri Lanka better managed COVID-19

Apr 6 (DM) By yesterday (5) at least 1,202,609 persons worldwide had tested coronavirus or Covid-19 positive and 64,732 had died of the dreaded disease. But the good news is that 246,640 of this number had completely recovered. In our own country, Director General of Health Services Dr. Anil Jasinghe announced on March 10 the first SL patient infected with the COVID-19 had been identified. The 52-year-old patient was a tour guide and he had recently provided services to an Italian tour more..

COVID-19: Reflecting on lessons learnt

Apr 6 (CT) US Prez Donald Trump, as well as several powerful world leaders, still remain in a clueless state of getting rid of COVID-19. Historians have pointed out that French astrologer Nostradamus, who had predicted precisely in 1551 several important occurrences, including man-made disasters as well as natural disasters, had even predicted about COVID-19, stating that there will be a twin year (2020) and a monstrous queen will appear from the East (China), challenging more..

'If we let the economy fail, we will fail with health too'

Apr 6 (FT) Former UNP MP Eran Wickramaratne says Govt must balance programs to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus with prudent economic policies, warning that if we let the economy fail, we will fail with health too. He also emphasised on the importance of moving from curfew to limited lockdown, to change of lifestyle, balancing the loss of life from coronavirus & loss of life from our socioeconomic measures. more..

Time: Gained by country against COVID-19, Lost by despicable politicians

Apr 6 (CT) At the outset the prospect of being sequestered created varying levels of anxiety and discomfort among the populace, but now it seems they have reached a consensus and understanding with the inevitable and are getting accustomed to the prospect of being confined to their homes. The state of affairs nonetheless is bound to last longer owing to its unpredictability. Initial reactions indicated concerns of food sufficiency, of lack of money and of overall survival prospects with more..

Anti-Muslim hatred: clouding the fight against Corona!

Apr 6 (CT) Social media in Sinhala is exploding these few days with vicious posts and cartoons demonising the Muslim community as a whole for expressing views about their displeasure in respect of the cremation of the first Muslim Corona patient who passed away in Negombo. The very basis for their displeasure was conveniently forgotten; which was clouded by a Islamopbobia coating with unreasonable labels attached to them such as unpatriotic and senseless more..

'We must abandon the idea of elections anytime soon'

Apr 6 (DM) Former Jaffna District MP M.A. Sumanthiran engaged in an informative conversation on topics of current importance such as the impact of the Covid-19 Pandemic, postponement of elections, imperative need to re-convene Parliament, legal validity of curfews being enforced, urgent necessity for drafting new laws and the refusal by Governors to let Local authorities in the N&E utilise funds to help affected people. more..

Focus on the bigger picture

Apr 6 (TM) Now entering its third week of lockdown, Sri Lanka has so far managed to keep the numbers under control but medical experts are of the view that the tables could be turned if there is a let up in the lockdown anytime soon. Based on research, it has been found that up to 50% of the carriers don’t know they are infected as no symptoms are visible until the sixth or seventh day when mild symptoms begin to appear. Even then, many can easily mistake mild symptoms for the common flu more..

When crisis becomes critical

Apr 6 (CT) Believe it or not, South Korea is going ahead with its parliamentary elections on April 15, and the Covid-19 response of the Moon Jae-in govt is dominating the campaign. Like SL, South Korea also has a presidential parliamentary system and the governing (liberal) Democratic Party of Prez Moon Jae-in is predicted to retain control of its parliamentary majority. Public opinion went against govt early on during the campaign when Prez Moon was reluctant to ban travel from China. more..

GMOA urges Coronavirus rapid tests for 27,000 contacts to quell Covid-19, count 171

Apr 5 (EN) GMOA has urged the Health Ministry to screen contacts of confirmed patients using so-called rapid tests, which will quickly identify cases and help quell Covid-19 faster. Sri Lanka’s total Coronavirus count went up to 171 on Sunday. Several countries have developed test kits which detect antigens in the blood of patients about 5 days after they get the disease, GMOA media spokesman Samantha Ananda said. more..

April 6 to 10 declared work from home week

Apr 5 (AD) The govt has declared the week commencing from tomorrow (6) as a work from home period. Both public and private sectors are requested to engage in their services while remaining at home. Accordingly, the period from April 6 to March 10 is a period for working from home. This measure is taken as a part of the preventative program by the government to curtail the spread of COVID-19. Currently, police curfew is imposed on the whole country. more..

Arrested suspect hospitalized over COVID-19 symptoms

Apr 5 (AD) A suspect who was arrested by the Pannala Police has been admitted to Kurunegala Teaching Hospital due to coronavirus symptoms. The suspect arrested over the possession of heroin had been produced at the Kurunegala magistrate’s Court yesterday. However, as the suspect suffered from high fever and showed COVID-19 symptoms, the magistrate had ordered for him to be admitted to the Kurunegala Hospital through Public Health Inspectors (PHI). more..

Govt battles Covid-19 pandemic and two other major crises

Apr 5 (ST) Perhaps never before has the well-known Sinhala adage – a near fatal fall from a tree and being gored badly by a bull – been more appropriate in Sri Lanka than today. That aptly describes the dilemma of a near five-month old govt. Battling a growing Covid-19 pandemic, successfully so far notwithstanding many difficulties, the govt is confronted with two equally worrying issues, both of pandemic proportions. more..

Air & water quality in Colombo improves significantly

Apr 5 (NR) Air and water quality indexes in Colombo have improved significantly with the imposition of curfew across the country owing to the coronavirus. Air Quality Index based on AirNow Department of State has increased to 56. The National Building Research Organisation attributed the change in the quality levels to lack of vehicular movement in the city. The NBRO said significant changes have been witnessed in comparison to air and water quality levels before curfew was imposed. more..

2,961 inmates released on bail under special committee recommendations

Apr 5 (DM) A total of 2,961 prison inmates have been released on bail from March 17 to April 4 under the recommendations of the special committee appointed by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, PMD said. The committee was appointed to make recommendations on the possibility of providing legal redress for the prisoners following a request made by the inmates during an inspection tour of the Prison premises by the President on an earlier occasion. more..