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Controversy over Harin undergoing PCR test amidst ‘Brandix eruption’



By Saman Indrajith

UNP MP Harin Fernando, on Wednesday (7) ,called for conducting PCR tests on all MPs to ensure that they did not have COVID-19.

He said so in his response to SLPP MP Premanath C. Dolawatte’s accusation that MP Fernando had deliberately puts others’ lives in danger by coming to Parliament.

MP Dolawatte said that MP Harin Fernando had put up a post in his twitter account that he underwent a PCR test Tuesday. “To undergo the PCR test, the MP should have felt some complications. Has he shown any symptoms of COVID-19? Please let us know the results of his test.”


MP Harin Fernando has a moral obligation to stay away from others after facing the PCR test. Instead, he came here. He should inform us of the results of the test.

Gampaha District SJB MP Harshana Rajakaruna:

There is no police curfew in some areas in Gampaha District. So, people still move about freely. If the government declares curfew in remaining areas, then it would help contain the spread of the pandemic.

Anuradhapura District MP Prof Channa Jayasumana:

There have been several discussions on how curfew should be declared. Curfew is imposed on the basis of recommendations of health and security experts. On the other hand, there is fake news with regard to curfew and closure of some institutions.

There is another allegation by the opposition that the number of PCR tests being conducted was not sufficient. That is not true.

SJB MP Harin Fernando:

Number of PCR tests has been decreased. About 900 tests were done yesterday.  I got a PCR test done on me and I have tested negative. I can send him my report. What about the other MPs? The government has asked people to undergo PC tests. A government MP criticises me for following the government recommendation. Government MPs are afraid of facing the test. They too should also undergo that test. Private hospitals conduct PCR tests and charge Rs 6,000 each. One could get the services of private hospital staff members to visit his or her home and undergo the test at a cost of Rs 12,000.”

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Special COVID-19 probe crippled by infections among CCD sleuths: AG calls for new police team



By Shamindra Ferdinando

Brandix Apparel Limited yesterday (29) said that the company would fully cooperate with relevant authorities in the investigation ordered by the Attorney General (AG). A spokesperson for the company said so when The Island sought a clarification with regard to AG Dappula de Livera, PC, directing the police to launch a criminal investigation into the alleged lapses on the part of the company as well as those officials leading to the devastating COVID-19 outbreak.

The Minuwangoda eruption, which happened in the first week of October is widely believed to be the cause of the fast expanding Peliyagoda cluster.

Asked whether the police had contacted the Brandix management as regards the investigation and sought access to Brandix management and workers at its Minuwangoda apparel manufacturing facility as well as records at the Minuwangoda facility, the spokesperson said: “We will work with the relevant authorities in this regard”.

The Colombo Crime Division (CCD) tasked with the probe has suffered a serious setback due to a section of its officers being tested positive for COVID-19. Authoritative sources said that the CCD lacked sufficient strength to carry out the investigation.

AG de Livera early this week told DIG Ajith Rohana that a progress report should be submitted to him by or before Nov. 13.

Sources said that the badly depleted CCD was not in a position to conduct the high-profile investigation, in addition to other ongoing inquiries. The AG has directed the Acting IGP to constitute a special team of law enforcement officers to conduct the investigation. Sources acknowledged the urgent need for a thorough inquiry into the far worse second corona wave. Sources said that the AG issued fresh instructions in that regard after the crisis in the CCD was brought to his notice.

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Most garment workers under self-quarantine left to fend for themselves



By Rathindra Kuruwita

A large number of garment workers who were undergoing self-quarantine in Minuwangoda did not receive any assistance, Chamila Thushari of the Dabindu Collective, a labour organisation that works with garment workers, told The Island yesterday.

She said that those who were under self-quarantine did not have money to purchase food and even those who were willing to help could not reach them.

“Some of them have received food parcels from their work places but that is not adequate. Most others have not received any assistance. Matters will only get worse after curfew is imposed throughout the Western Province,” Thushari said.

Most of these workers are undergoing self-quarantine at their boarding places, which also house individuals who still work in garment factories. “Although there is a curfew, they can go to work. These are perfect incubators for the virus,” she said.

Thushari said that every day between 20-30 workers under self-quarantine, tested positive for COVID-19.

There were no public health inspectors to monitor the boarding houses of garment workers to ensure that COVID-19 prevention measures were being followed, she said.

“Not even Grama Niladaris visit them,” Chamila said.

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SJB requests separate seats for its dissidents



Chief Opposition Whip and Kandy District MP Lakshman Kiriella has written to Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena requesting him to make arrangements to provide separate seats to the nine MPs who had voted with the government for the 20th Amendment to the Constitution recently.

The letter dated yesterday said that the SJB parliamentary group had decided to expel MPs Diana Gamage, A. Aravind Kumar, Ishak Rahuman, Faisal Cassim, H. M. M. Haris, M.S. Thowfeeq, Nazeer Ahmed, A.A.S.M. Raheem and S.M.M. Musharaf and it requests the Speaker to make separate seating arrangements for these MPs in the Chamber.

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