By Chaminda Silva
Warning that the omicron variant of coronavirus was spreading rapidly in the country, medical professionals have urged the public to get vaccinated.College of Internal Medicine President and Colombo National Hospital (NHSL) Physician Dr Harsha Satischandra said that there were 325 COVID-19 patients receiving treatment at the NHSL and of them 75 patients were on oxygen support.
Dr. Satischandra said that the majority of patients dependent on intensive care were not fully vaccinated; they had received either one or two doses each.”Sri Lanka has 2.8 million persons over 60 years. Of them, only 1.5 million have received the booster dose. That is 1.3 million persons over 60 years are not fully vaccinated,” Dr Satischandra said.
Sri Lanka Medical Association, Vice President and paediatrician, Dr Surantha Perera said that measures like a lockdown or closing of schools were not practical and it was the vaccine that helped control the spread of COVID-19 effectively. He said that there was a drop in the number of persons in the 16-19 age group getting vaccinated. “This could be due to the ongoing A/L examinations. However, students can get vaccinated after the examination. It was with great difficulty that we reopened schools.”
Dr Perera said that 1.3 million persons between 16 to 19 years had received the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and administration of the second dose for this age group had begun. Discussions were also being held on the second dose for children between 12 and 15 years.
Medical Research Institute Consultant Immunologist Dr Rajiva de Silva said that protection provided by COVID-19 vaccines against the BA.1 and BA.2 sub-lineages of Omicron were the same.”Omicron has divided into BA.1 and BA.2. BA.2, which has been detected in the country as well as other countries, is 50% more transmissible than BA.1. However, it is said that BA.2 is not as severe as BA.1,” Dr de Silva said.
Train services on coastal line delayed
The Railway Department has announced that train services on the coastal line will be delayed due a derailment between Kollupitiya and Colombo Fort this morning (27).
It also said that trains bound to Colombo will be given priority and requested South bound passengers to make use of alternate modes of transportation until the situation is rectified.
Chinese ship visit: Sabry contradicts Defence Ministry
India consulted, concerns raised by US
Foreign Minister Ali Sabry, PC, has denied that the government granted permission for Chinese research vessel Shi Yan 6 to visit the Colombo port late next month.
Sabry told the media in New York on Monday (26) that Colombo had not given permission for the Chinese vessel to dock. He said India’s security concerns were important for Sri Lanka.
The Defence Ministry on 27 August announced that approval for the Chinese ship to dock in Colombo had been granted
The media quoted Sabry as having said there was a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) and the government consulted many friends including India.
“That’s a conversation going on for some period of time. India has expressed its concerns over a long time, but we have come out with the SOP. When we were making it, we consulted many of our friends, including India. So, as long as it complies with the SOP, we have no problem. But if it doesn’t comply with the SOP, we have a problem,” Ali Sabry told ANI.
“So, therefore, as far as I know, we have not given permission for the vessel to come to Sri Lanka during October. Negotiations are going on. Indian security concerns, which are legitimate, are very, very important to us. We have always said that because we want to keep our region a zone of peace,” said Ali Sabry.
President Ranil Wickremesinghe, too, has said that an SPO was worked out for foreign vessels.
The Chinese research vessel was expected in Sri Lanka in October to conduct research along with the National Aquatic Resources Research and Development Agency (NARA).
US Under Secretary Victoria Nuland, during her meeting with Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Ali Sabry, had raised concerns regarding Shi Yan 6’s visit.
Taking to X, formerly Twitter, Victoria Nuland stated, “The US supports a strong and prosperous Sri Lanka. Our work together continues at #UNGA. I met with @MFA SriLanka Minister Ali Sabry to discuss U.S. economic assistance, human rights, and our shared vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific.”
Sabry told Nuland that Sri Lanka had worked out the SOP to be followed by foreign ships and aircraft in carrying out any activity in Sri Lankan territory, according to a Daily Mirror report.
Last year, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, while commenting on Chinese vessel Yuan Wang-5 which had docked in Sri Lanka, said that any developments that have a bearing on India’s security are “obviously of an interest to us”.
“What happens in our neighbourhood, any developments which have a bearing on our security obviously are of an interest to us,” Mr. Jaishankar said at a joint press conference after the 9th India-Thailand Joint Commission Meeting.
India had expressed its security concerns over the docking of the vessel at the Sri Lankan port as it was shown as a research vessel with the capability of mapping the ocean bed, which is critical to anti-submarine operations of the Chinese Navy. The Chinese research ship had docked at Sri Lanka’s Hambantota Port.
Court bans Thileepan commemorations in Trinco
The Trincomalee Magistrate’s Court yesterday (26) prohibited the commemoration of LTTE cadre ‘Thileepan’ who died on 26 Sept., 1987, during a fast against the IPKF. The court order came as several events were scheduled to be held in Trincomalee yesterday.
The Trincomalee Court banned any sort of celebrations, demonstrations, parades or protests commemorating Thileepan in the Kulakottan Hall and the Gandhi Roundabout within the Trincomalee Harbour Police division, and within the Trincomalee police division.
The relevant order was issued against several activists, including
President of the Trincomalee District Tamil People’s Forum R. F. Jerome, Ramesh Nicholas, Suhirdha Priya, Krishna Pillai Sri Prasath, Kandaiyya Kandeepan alias ‘Pamaparasan’, Karthik Kalkiriyan and others.
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