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Curfew in WP extended as virulent corona strain hits province hardest 



The quarantine curfew in the Western Province that was to be lifted this morning has been extended till 5 am on November 09.

 Army Commander Shavendra Silva, making a special statement, yesterday said the curfew would also be clamped on Eheliyagoda and Kuliyapitiya police areas as well as the Kurunegala city limits.

The Army Commander said: “We have identified that the highest number of COVID19 cases has been reported from Western Province. That’s why we imposed the quarantine curfew from midnight 29 October to 5am on November 02. But looking at the reported cases during the last few days, we have decided to extend this curfew.”

Lt. Gen. Silva said that clusters were seen forming around the Eheliyagoda and Kuliyapitiya police areas as well as in Kurunegala Municipal Council limits.

“We urge the people to stay home. And people must reduce travel even those who live in areas where there is no curfew. Don’t cross district borders. We will arrange home deliveries and monetary grants for the needy,” he said.

Meanwhile, Secretary to the Ministry of Health, Sanjeewa Munasinghe said that the current strain of COVID19 was extremely contagious.

“The old and the young are vulnerable alike. Those with chronic disease like diabetes, high blood pressure, cholesterol, kidney diseases, cancer etc. are more vulnerable.”

Munasinghe said that if a person had mild symptoms they would be sent to level two hospitals,  asymptomatic patients will be sent to intermediate care centres and those with serious symptoms and those who have underlying conditions will be sent to level one hospitals with ICU facilities.

“If you feel you have symptoms, call 0117 966 366 and we will send a team to help you,” he said.

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Cardinal: Was there any link between passage of 20A and Easter Sunday probe outcome?



… stands by his claim of foreign involvement

By Norman Palihawadana

Archbishop of Colombo Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith yesterday said that there could be a connection between the outcome of the probe into the Easter Sunday attacks and the enlisting of Muslim MPs’ support for the passage of the 20th Amendment.

The Cardinal said: “The leader of a Muslim political party voted against the 2Oth Amendment. But his MPs voted for it. The brother of Rishad Bathiudeen too was released around the same time. These are questionable developments. These events could be part of a deal.”

The Cardinal reiterated that international forces were behind the Easter Sunday attacks and that he did not believe that there had been any local political group directly involved in the Easter attacks.

Addressing the media yesterday, the Cardinal said that the remarks he made on Sunday had been misunderstood. He stood by his claim that international forces had been behind the attacks, he said.

“However, some people claim that I said a local political group was behind the attack. I have always maintained that there are international forces that use religious and ethnic extremists such as Wahabists to create conflicts. I was referring to such groups.”

The Cardinal added that only a small group of Muslims was involved in extremism.

The Archbishop also said that former President Maithripala Sirisena believed that taking action against extremists like NTJ leader Zahran Hashim would create unnecessary issues.

“Something along these lines is also in the PCoI on Easter Sunday attacks. The report also implies that the then Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe was lenient in dealing with growing extremism in Sri Lanka.”

The Cardinal urged the government to protect the country and ensure that there would be no repeats of incidents like the Easter Sunday attacks.

The Archbishop of Colombo requested all religious leaders to work on rebuilding trust among all communities.



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AG appeals to Supreme Court against granting of bail to Ravi, others



The Attorney General yesterday appealed to the Supreme Court against bail for former Minister Ravi Karunanayake and seven others indicted in the bond case by the Colombo Special High Court Trial-at-Bar.

The eight accused were arrested and remanded over the bond scams. Later, they were released on bail.

The court warned that if the accused attempted to exert influence on the witnesses, by any means, bail would be revoked and they would be placed on remand until the end of the trial.



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26 more coronavirus cases detected in Jaffna Tirunelveli market area



Another 26 COVID-19 cases had been detected on Sunday, from the Tirunelveli Market in Jaffna, which was the epicentre of the recent outbreak in the town, Dr. A. Kethiswaran, Regional Director Health Services told the media yesterday.

The market and its surroundings had been reopened on April 11 following a 19-day lockdown. However, 378 PCR tests were conducted after the Sinhala and Tamil New Year and 26 of them proved positive.

Dr. Kethiswaran warned last week that there might be a spike in COVID-19 cases in Jaffna after the New Year celebrations.

A large number of COVID-19 cases had been reported in Jaffna in the past few weeks. Thus, the people should adhere to health guidelines. If people did not follow the guidelines, there would be a spike in cases and then some places would have to be lockdown, he warned.

“It’s too early to say whether we have to close the area down. We are monitoring the situation,” DR. Kethiswaran said.

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