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Five million Lankans fully vaccinated

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Around 43% of those over 30 had received at least one dose of the anti-COVID-19 vaccine, Army Commander General Shavendra Silva said yesterday.

General Silva said Sri Lanka had obtained 19.7 million doses of vaccines. Five million Lankans had received both doses.

General Silva that he was concerned about those who were not coming forth to be vaccinated and, therefore, the Army had launched mobile vaccination units.

“Through them we visit the houses of those over 60 and those with serious health issues and complications. The mobile fleet has already vaccinated people in Gampaha and Kalutara districts,” Gen. Silva said.

The Task Force of the National Operation Centre for Prevention of COVID-19 Outbreak’s (NOCPCO) priority was to reduce the number of deaths in the country, he said.

“The second is to reduce its spread, the third is the management of hospitals and the fourth is the economy,” he said.

General Silva said that the management issues in hospitals were one of the main reasons for overcrowding. If the capacity of a hospital exceeded, the rest must be transferred to another as per directions of the President about the Patient Management System.

“When we looked at those who have died, we found that most of the dead had not taken even a single dose of the vaccine. We had 160 deaths on 13 August and all of them had not taken any vaccine,” the Army Commander added.

He said that health officials were doing 19,000 PCR tests and 25,000 plus rapid antigen tests every day. However, according to the Institute of Health Policy on 17 August 22,290 PCR tests and 6,526 Rapid Antigen Tests were done. (RK)



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Central Bank urged to save collapsing local industries

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The National Freedom Front (NFF) has requested the immediate intervention of the Governor of the Central Bank Ajith Nivard Cabraal to save micro, small and medium scale industries badly affected by the current economic downturn caused by the Covid-19.

The NFF parliamentary group comprises six members, including one National List.

Industries Minister Wimal Weerawansa, on behalf of the SLPP constituent parties, has warned of steep increase in unemployment, drop in the contribution made by small and medium scale industries to the national economy and the further widening of the gap between the rich and poor.

Party sources told The Island that the NFF had decided to take up the urgent matter because, in spite of repeated promises, those who had been severely affected were yet to receive assistance. Minister Weerawansa has urged the Central Bank to restructure loans obtained by affected industries and also extend the moratorium.

Weerawansa has in a letter dated Oct.18, told Cabraal that according to a survey conducted by the Industrial Development Board, micro, small and medium enterprises suffered serious setbacks. However, of the loans made available through the banking sector, a substantial segment had been disbursed among major players, the Minister said, while pointing out that in other countries in the region more than 50 percent of total loans were made available to micro, small and medium industries.

Unfortunately, here in Sri Lanka they received approximately 15 percent of the total given as loans, the minister said.

Minister Weerawansa said that though industries suffered, almost all state and private banks had recorded much improved performances with significant profits.

The Minister said that following his intervention with the cabinet of ministers, the government agreed on a plan of action to deal with the situation. It would be the responsibility of the Central Bank to implement the agreed proposals, he said.

(SF)

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So far no side effects among Pfizer vaccinated 15,000 A/L students

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By Rathindra Kuruwita

Over 15,000 GCE AL students had been vaccinated with Pfizer and there had not been any side effects, Colombo District Director of Health Dr. Dilip Liyanage told the media yesterday.

He said that the Ministry of Education had given them a list of 20,688 that needed to be vaccinated.

“We would like to assure parents that there is no need to worry. Over 15,000 children have been vaccinated and there have been no problems so far. Trust the health professionals and vaccinate your child at the first opportunity you get,” he said.

Dr. Liyanage added that children who missed their chance to get vaccinated on weekdays, can get vaccinated at the MOH office near their home.

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Govt. approves prohibition of cattle slaughter

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The government has approved the prohibition of cattle slaughter. The decision was announced at the weekly Cabinet meeting at the Information Department yesterday (19). The government said the relevant laws and regulations, including those passed by Local Government authorities would be amended for that purpse.

The Legal Draftsman has drafted Bills to amend the following acts and ordinances.

• Authority 272 of the Cattle Slaughter Ordinance No. 9 of 1893

• Act No. 29 of 1958 Concerning Animals

• Municipal Councils Ordinance – Section 252

• Section 255 of the Municipal Councils Ordinance

• Ordinance No. 15 of the Urban Council Act of 1987

The Attorney General has certified that the said Bills do not clash with the provisions of the Constitution.

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