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GMOA complains of military interference in vaccination drive: Army refutes allegation

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By Rathindra Kuruwita

The Government Medical Officers Association (GMOA) yesterday informed the Health Ministry that security forces continued to interfere with the anti COVID-19 activities carried out by the health officials. Security forces carried out vaccination programmes across the country in an ad hoc manner and that would lead to confusion, the GMOA added.

GMOA Secretary Dr. Senel Fernando told The Island that their representatives from the East had informed that security forces were meddling with the vaccination programme as well.

“They interfere with the work of our colleagues in numerous ways. We are concerned about two things. One is the unacceptable involvement of the security forces in the COVID 19 vaccination programme in the Eastern Province and the other is some military officers’ unauthorised entry into vital Health Care Institution such as Medical Officers of Health (MOH) Offices.”

 

The GMOA Secretary added that Epidemiology Unit, on the directions of higher authorities, was still issuing vaccine to the armed forces, which were conducting vaccination programmes all over the country.

Dr. Fernando added that the Army had conducted a vaccination programme targeting garment factories in Dehiattakandiya recently without seeking the assistance of health officers in the area for the supervision of the programme.

“Around 10% of those who received the jab there reported vaccine-related adverse effects. This is an unreasonably high number for COVID-19 vaccination,” Dr. Fernando said.

The GMOA Secretary said that Sri Lanka only had a limited amount of vaccines and what the security forces were doing could disrupt the scheduled vaccination programmes.

“We asked Dr Sanjeewa Munasinghe, Secretary to the Ministry of Health to take up the issue with relevant authorities and rectify the current situation. Prompt action will ensure smooth functioning of vaccinations and other healthcare services in the Eastern province.”

 

Meanwhile Army Spokesman Brigadier Nilantha Premaratne told The Island that it was the first time that anyone had complained about the Army’s involvement in the vaccination or COVID-19 prevention programmes.

Brig. Premaratne said that the Board of Investments had asked the Army to help it vaccinate garment workers across the country and that the Army had inoculated many workers in Seethawaka, Habaraduwa, Katunayake, Biyagama and Kandy.

“Moreover, we have always consulted Regional Directors of Health Services before vaccinating. So. it is not correct to say that we do not consult regional health officers. In the areas we carried out vaccination programmes in the East, no one else had been active,” he said. The Army is to issue a full statement on the matter today (02.)



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Shocking 17,500 video clips of Lankan children being sexually abused

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By Norman Palihawadane

There were over 17,500 video clips of Sri Lankan children being sexually abused, on the Internet and action had been taken to arrest those responsible, Police Spokesman Senior DIG Ajith Rohana said yesterday. The Sri Lanka Police had sought the assistance of international law enforcement agencies and the Internet service providers to track down the persons involved in uploading those video clips and child sex trafficking via internet, the SDIG said.

Crimes against children in Sri Lanka were rising at an alarming speed, the SDIG said.

The police would conduct a special awareness programme together with the National Child Protection Authority to curb the alarming trend, he said.

The first programme was held recently in Nuwara Eliya where it especially focused apprising police officers attached to that Division.

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Private buses to insist that inter-provincial commuters carry proof of vaccination?

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By Rathindra Kuruwita

A limited number of Sri Lanka Transport Board (SLTB) and National Transport Commission (NTC) buses and trains would maintain limited inter- provincial operation from 01 August, State Minister of Transport, Dilum Amunugma said.

The State Minister said that certified documents issued by the respective depot superintendents and the letters of approval by the NTC were mandatory, he added.

“The buses and trains will be permitted to operate only in the morning and in the evening for office workers,” Amunugma said.

The State Minister added that passengers should behave responsibly when using the inter-provincial transport services and understand that those services were only for commuters engaged in essential services.

“The Delta variant is spreading rapidly. If one infected passenger travels in a bus, all other commuters will contract it” he warned.

The Lanka Private Bus Owners’ Association (LPBOA) has decided to make proof of vaccination compulsory for inter provincial travel from 01 August

LPBOA President Gemunu Wijeratne said they had written to the President and Transport Minister asking for permission to enforce it.

Wijeratne said that all bus operators in the Western Province should ensure they were inoculated by August 15.

 

 

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TNA Leader complains against appointing Sinhala officers to Tamil areas

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By Dinasena Ratugamage

Tamil National Alliance (TNA) Leader, R. Sampanthan had written to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister, Mahinda Rajapaksa, objecting to the appointment of Sinhala government officers to the Northern Province, former TNA MP Mavai Senathirajah told journalists on Wednesday (28.)

The President and the Prime Minister are appointing officials violating democratic principles, Senathirajah said after a meeting of party activists at Karachchi Divisional Secretariat Office, Kilinochchi.

“A lot of Sinhalese are appointed to the North and the East. They must appoint Tamils. These appointments undermine our struggle for a just language policy,” he said.

Senathirajah said that it was customary to appoint Tamil officers to Tamil majority areas. However, this tradition was being violated increasingly in recent times, the former MP said.

“The TNA has nothing against Sinhala government officers. However, appointing Sinhala state officers to majority Tamil areas is a great injustice to the people. So, our leader has written to the President and the Prime Minister asking them to stop this practice,” he said.

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