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COVID-19: JVP tells govt. magic cannot help tackle pandemic

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By Saman Indrajith

Written history of pandemics dating back to around 2,500 years indicates that only scientific methods could cure the patients, and therefore the government should stop promoting concoctions prepared by people without any scientific background, says the JVP.

Addressing the media at the JVP headquarters in Pelawatte, former MP Dr. Nalinda Jayatissa said that the government should promote scientific methods and build people’s confidence in those methods in fighting the pandemic instead of wasting time and money on concoctions and other methods which have not yet been recognised by science.

“This is a pandemic and increasing awareness among people on scientific findings and methods to fight the disease are the only way to set about the task of tackling the disease. The government and its ministers are engaged in various methods that have no scientific basis. Throwing pots into rivers and drinking syrups that had nothing to do with science are the government ministers’ response in the face of the pandemic that has killed over 200 persons. Their actions have demoralised the doctors and other experts who rely on scientific methods and procedures.”

Dr. Jayatissa said that the government had lost its grip on the pandemic. “As of Saturday night the number of deaths reached 211 and the number of infections 44,000. Around 500-700 COVID-19 infected persons are found daily. At this rate within a week we may pass the 50,000 mark. This is a dangerous situation that does not permit dilly-dallying with potions by shamans putting the lives of infected people in danger. We must do everything possible to prevent the new variant of COVID-19 virus entering the country.

“The government’s performance in controlling the first wave of the pandemic is praiseworthy. It was successful because people followed the health guidelines and many government agencies including the security forces and intelligence agencies with the help of health authorities did their level best to control the disease. However, the people have lost their trust in the government following the second wave of the pandemic because the government still could not trace the origin of the second wave even after deploying eight CID experts for the purpose. People think that either the government cannot find it or it is hiding it from the people. Thereafter, the government started to promote locally made syrups and other unscientific methods. The Health Minister and several ministers started throwing pots into rivers. Thereafter starting from the Minister of Health, the Speaker of Parliament and Cabinet ministers ingested the syrup in public.

“Magic cannot cure pandemics. People should be advised to maintain one-metre distance, wash their hands frequently and to wear masks. The government even prepared quarantine laws and regulations during the first wave. But later in the second wave its own ministers violated those regulations in public. Those actions too contributed to people losing faith in the health and scientific methods.”

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Covid-19 vaccination programme: MPs not in priority group; President, armed forces chiefs in ‘third category’ 

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By Shamindra Ferdinando

State Minister for Primary Health Care, Epidemics and COVID Disease Control, Dr. Sudarshini Fernandopulle yesterday (25) said that members of Parliament were not among those categorised as priority groups expected to be vaccinated against the Covid-19 pandemic.

Dr. Fernandopulle said so in response to The Island query whether parliamentarians would receive the vaccine scheduled to be delivered by India this week. Asked to explain, Dr. Fernandopulle said that health workers, armed forces and law enforcement personnel engaged in Covid-19 prevention operations would be given priority.

“Lawmakers haven’t been listed under priority groups. However, some members may get the vaccine if they are accommodated in the over 60 years category and those suffering from diabetes, heart disease, cancer et al,” the State minister said.

In addition to State Minister Dayasiri Jayasekera, several lawmakers, representing both the government and the Opposition had been afflicted over the past several weeks. SLPP lawmaker Wasantha Yapa Bandara (Kandy district) is the latest victim. Health minister Pavitradevi Wanniarachchi was among over half a dozen lawmakers tested positive.

Army Commander General Shavendra Silva told Derana yesterday morning Sri Lanka would receive approximately 500,000 to 600,000 doses from India. Responding to a spate of questions from Derana anchor Sanka Amarjith, Gen. Silva explained the measures taken by the government to ensure a smooth vaccination programme. The Army Chief who also functions as the Chief of Defence Staff revealed India had paid for the consignment obtained from the UK.

Later in the day, The Island sought an explanation from the Army Chief regarding the President, Service Commanders, Secretary Defence given the vaccination along with frontline health workers et al, the celebrated battlefield commander said: “Will be in third priority group.”

Asked whether the student population would be accommodated at an early stage of the vaccination programme, Dr. Fernandopulle said that those under 18 years of age, pregnant and lactating mothers wouldn’t be included at all as such groups hadn’t been subjected to trials. Education Secretary Prof. Kapila Perera wasn’t available for comment.

Dr. Fernandopulle emphasized the pivotal importance of following health guidelines strictly in spite of the launch of the vaccination programme. “We shouldn’t lower our guard under any circumstances,” Dr. Fernandopulle said, urging the population to be mindful of those unable to receive the vaccination due to no fault of theirs. As those under 18 years of age had been left out of the vaccination programme, a substantial section of the population would be denied the protection, the State Minister said.

Sri Lanka is also expected to procure vaccines from China and Russia in addition to the doses from India. Health Secretary Maj. Gen. Sanjeewa Munasinghe wasn’t available for comment.

Sri Lanka launches the vaccination programme with the total number of positive cases nearing 60,000 with nearly 50,000 recoveries. The government recently re-opened the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) following a pilot programme that brought over 1,200 Ukrainians in dozen flights through the Mattala International Airport.

Dr. Fernandopulle said that the government was ready to launch the vaccination programme as soon as the first consignment arrived from India.

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Tennis balls filled with drugs thrown into Kandakadu Covid-19 treatment centre

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By Norman Palihawadane

Two tennis balls filled with drugs had been thrown into the Covid-19 treatment centre at Kandakadu, Police Spokesperson DIG Ajith Rohana said.

The contraband was found on Saturday by the Army officers attached to the facility.

DIG Rohana said the two tennis balls containing cannabis, heroin and tobacco, had been handed over to the Welikanda Police.

A special investigation has been launched into the incident, the Police Spokesperson said. Such incidents had been previously reported from Welikada, Negombo and other prisons, but it was the first time contraband containing narcotics had been thrown into a Covid-19 treatment centre, he added.

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All cargo clearances at Colombo port now through electronic payments

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The Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) has introduced a system where payment for imports could be made via the Internet. This allows port users to make payments from their homes or offices to clear goods from the Port of Colombo.

The SLPA has said in a media statement that the new special facility will enable port users to make their port payments easily without hassle.

At present, all terminals of the Port of Colombo are run according to a strategic crisis management plan.

 

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