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Authorities double down on counter measures 

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COVID-19 count from latest cluster jumps to 80 

By Norman Palihawadane

Army Commander and Head of the National Operation Centre for the Prevention of COVID-19 Outbreak (NOCPCO) Lt. Gen. Shavendra Silva, yesterday, requested people to adhere to maximum precautions as the new cluster of COVID-19 has a dangerous potential of spreading out of the Gampaha District to other areas.

He said there was, however, no need to horde items unnecessarily, although a police curfew was imposed in several areas, following the detection of a COVID-19 patient in the community on Saturday.

The people needed to avoid unnecessary travel and follow health safety instructions religiously, he said.

Lt. Gen. Silva said that the curfew had been extended to three police areas due to the large number of employees in the garment factory, where the infected woman worked as a supervisor.

As at yesterday the number of COVID-19 positive cases found from the latest cluster had increased up to 69.

The curfew imposed in Veyangoda, Divulapitiya and Minuwangoda police areas continues to be in effect.

The Army Commander said the family of the COVID-19 positive individual in Divulapitiya had been directed to undergo quarantine together with other families she had interacted with and the employees and the supervisor of the garment factory had been advised to undergo self-quarantine.

It has not yet been ascertained how a woman living in the Divulapitiya area in Gampaha became infected with COVID-19. Lt. General Silva said they were still inquiring into how the individual contracted the coronavirus and vowed to trace the root cause of the outbreak within the coming days.

Director General of the Government Information Department Nalaka Kaluwewa said that the health sector was seeking the assistance of the general public to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.

He said that the health sector emphasised that the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health covering all sectors should be strictly followed.

The guidelines included instructions covering 56 sectors on how to continue public and professional activities, while preventing the spread of the Covid-19 outbreak.

He noted that the health sector further emphasised that the public and the respective professionals should follow those guidelines at all times.

The health sector would closely monitor whether the recommendations were being followed properly, he said.

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COPE meets online for first time in its history

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by Saman Indrajith

The Parliamentary watchdog committee – COPE (Committee on Public Enterprises) created a history by meeting online for the first time ever on Thursday.

The COPE had Secretaries of three Ministries joining in with its committee meeting through online (ZOOM) becoming the second parliamentary committee holding an online meeting in the country.

Thursday evening’s COPE meeting chaired by its chairman Prof. Charitha Herath connected online with Secretary to the Ministry of Health (Dr) H. S. Munasinghe, Secretary to the Ministry of Industries W. A. Chulananda Perera and, Secretary to the Ministry of Public Services, Provincial Councils and Local Government J. J. Ratnasiri via zoom technology.

The Environmental Audit Report on water pollution of the Kelani River was brought before the committee and the meeting held between the Chairman Prof. Herath, Ministers and Members of Parliament and secretaries and other officials continued without any technical hitches.

Secretary General of Parliament Dhammika Dasanayake said that facilities have been provided to hold meetings and discussions using online technology in two committee rooms in Parliament.

He said that Parliamentary officials had been working relentlessly for months to install the requisite technological tools and that the efforts have borne fruit and future Parliamentary meetings could be held online as a result.

The Committee on High Posts under the chairmanship of Speaker of Parliament Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena also held a discussion with the new Ambassador of Sri Lanka to Kenya, who was living in Kampala, using online technology recently.

 

 

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Legatum Prosperity Index highlights SL’s development of education and healthcare sectors

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During the past decade

One of the key highlights of this year’s Legatum Prosperity Index was the improvement in Sri Lanka’s education and healthcare sectors over the past decade. These improvements were key to increase in prosperity within Sri Lanka, it was noted.

The London-based think-tank Legatum Institute launched the 14th Legatum Prosperity Index on November 17 2020.

The event commenced with the welcome address by the Chair of the Legatum Institute, Alan McCormick. 

Addressing the audience, the Chief Executive Officer of the Legatum Institute, The Baroness Stroud said that according to the Legatum Index, the global prosperity was at its highest level ever with 147 countries seeing their prosperity rise over the last decade.

Speaking at the launch, the High Commissioner of Sri Lanka in the UK, Saroja Sirisena said that the end of the terrorist conflict in 2009 and the ensuing peace dividend, led Sri Lanka to achieve steady progress within the last decade.

She highlighted that the universal free education and healthcare policies of the country over seven decades are the pillars on which prosperity is built.

Director of Policy of the Legatum Institute, Dr. Stephen Brien explained to the audience as to how the Legatum Index is used to measure prosperity across the world.

The event was also addressed by the Founder of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation in Africa, Dr. Mo Ibrahim, Biologist and Writer, Matt Ridley and Ambassador of Georgia in the UK Sophie Katsarava.

Legatum Prosperity Index is a global index that analyses the performance of 167 nations across 65 policy-focused elements, measured by almost 300 country level indicators and it is the only global index that measures national prosperity based on institutional, economic and social wellbeing.

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Quick Snacks and Party Recipes from North India with Sapna Mehra

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The Swami Vivekananda Cultural Centre (SVCC), High Commission of India, Colombo, will be holding an online cookery demonstration on ‘Snack Time: Quick Snacks and Party Recipes from North India’ on December 5 at 11.00 am on its FACEBOOK page https://www.facebook.com/ICCRSriLanka.

This festival season, the Cultural Centre will present a virtual cookery demonstration by Sapna Mehra. Cooking has been a passionate hobby of Sapna since her childhood days. Growing up in a large family of 17 members, she was very keen on bringing variety to the dining table, and that’s when her cooking journey began, preparing simple wraps, and snacks.

She now specializes in cooking dishes from a variety of cuisines. Originally from Bangalore, she has lived in many cities across India and Sri Lanka, and at present resides in Delhi.

She has a Postgraduate degree in Marketing and has over 12 years work experience in the professional field.

All are cordially invited to attend. For more details, contact the Swami Vivekananda Cultural Centre on telephone No: 2684698 or Email: iccrcolombo2@gmail.com

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