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Apparel community immunisation; 30% receive first dose

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80% expected to have first dose by August, and entire workforce before year end

The Joint Apparel Association Forum (JAAF) says a major progress has been made in its efforts to safeguard workers and revitalise the industry, with approximately 30% of workers having received their first dose of COVID vaccines, as at the end June 2021.

JAAF Secretary General Tuli Cooray says the apparel industry has been able to achieve such progress with the help of Minister Namal Rajapaksa.

“Prior to this most recent mobilisation, only 5% of our workforce had been able to receive their first dose, owing to difficulties in securing vaccine supplies. However, during the last few weeks, the authorities have been able to partially vaccinate approximately one third of the entire apparel workforce. This is a tremendous step towards protecting the health of our workers, and we are deeply grateful to the authorities for having provided solutions to the issues we had previously raised pertaining to worker safety. The number of workers vaccinated in the Free Trade Zones is higher, and the rollout is now cascading across the country.

“The government has issued protocols that manufacturing companies and other industries must follow to ensure an infection-free environment. We are committed to the safety and welfare of our workers on the shop floor and everywhere else,” added Cooray. “It’s also in our national interest, and that of the families of our employees to get back to business as safely and quickly as we can.”

At the end of June 2021, approximately 30 per cent of Sri Lanka’s apparel industry workers, out of a total of 300,000 in the sector – were vaccinated against Covid-19.

Domestically, the apparel sector provides direct employment to approximately 300,000 Sri Lankans.

“Continuing at the same pace, we expect more than half of the workforce to receive their first jab within the next two weeks, and approximately 80% by August. If all goes as planned, by December, we should have nearly our entire workforce vaccinated, and safely back to work. This is very positive news for workers, their families and the communities they have helped to build up, as well as the industry and national economy as a whole,”.



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Embassy officer arrested at BIA remanded

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The Embassy official who was attached to the Sri Lanka Embassy in Oman who is accused of being involved in a human trafficking racket was arrested by officers of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) and remanded till the 13th of December when he was produced before the Colombo Chief Magistrate

The official was arrested on his arrival at the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) this morning (29 November).

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Easter Sunday terror attack suspect hacked to death

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By Norman Palihawadane

A 38-year-old Easter Sunday terror attack suspect was hacked to death yesterday morning (28) in Mattakkuliya.

The victim, Mohamed Badurdeen Mohamed Harnas, was a resident of Safiya Avenue, Mattakkuliya, police said.

A suspect in the Easter Sunday terror attacks, he had been released on bail.

The suspect was rushed to the National Hospital, Colombo, after three individuals, who arrived in a car around 10. 00 am, attacked him.

Two persons attacked the man while the other was keeping the car engine running, according to eyewitnesses. The attackers thereafter fled in the same car.

Harnas was pronounced dead on admission to hospital.

Further investigations in this regard are currently underway.

The victims family members said that Harnas had been taken into custody, following the 2019 Easter Sunday attacks, but later released as there was no evidence of his involvement in terrorist activities.

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Rail service between Mahawa and Jaffna to be suspended for five months

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Transport Minister Bandula Gunawardena told Parliament yesterday that the railway services between Mahawa and Jaffna will be suspended for a period of five months in 2023.

The Minister said that operations will be suspended from January 15, 2023.

The Minister said it was to repair work on the railway line.

He said so in response to a question raised by Vanni District MP Selvam Adaikalanathan.

“We are focusing our attention on the request made by you. We have to halt railway operations between Mahawa and Jaffna for five months from January 2023. Train services have been continuously operating to Jaffna, but now we have faced a situation as we have not been able to carry out any repair work thus far,” the Minister said.

Assuring that this issue can be rectified in five months, Minister Gunawardane said that, thereafter, a good railway service can be provided for this route.

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