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Expert: Milleniya jackals may have got rabies from dogs

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By Ifham Nizam and Norman Palihawadana

The jackals with rabies in Milleniya, Horana must have contracted the disease from dogs, an expert says. Veterinarians would inoculate the dogs in the area, Director -Wildlife at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science, University of Peradeniya, Dr. Tharaka Prasad told The Island.

Dr. Prasad said: “We have found dogs with rabies in the area and the jackals must have contracted rabies from them. We are confident that the vaccination programme could be completed within two weeks. We have ruled out the use of a rabies bait vaccine; bait consists of a sachet containing a rabies vaccine, for the jackals as it would lead to other complications.”

Dr. Prasad said palm cats, mongooses, cats and other mammals were also prone to rabies and anyone bitten by such animals should be treated immediately. The Medical Officer of Health in the area who carrying awareness programme and hospitals staff are also working around the clock,” Dr. Prasad said.

Rabies spreads in two ways, genetic and domestic and once the virus reaches the saliva of an animal, it dies within 10 days, Dr. Prasad said. He added that a four member team headed by him had been to Milleniya on a fact finding mission on Tuesday night.

The people in the area had also been requested to contact the Department via hotline 1992 and 1991 to bring the situation under control.

SSP Sanjaya Irasinghe told The Island that there were around 20 jackals and some of them may be infected.

Policemen and wildlife officers have been deployed in the area to protect the villagers. “Following the death of a girl and a cow after they were bitten by a pack of rabid foxes there, police have deployed teams of policemen to guard the area day and night,” Irasinghe said.

Police have also asked residents not to send their farm animals into the scrub land for grazing.

 

 

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

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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

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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

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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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