GMOA: Failure to inoculate those over 60 yrs first, led to high death toll, lockdown
by Rathindra Kuruvita
The fact that those aged over 60 had not been fully vaccinated by now reflected a flaw in the inoculation programme, Government Medical Officers Association (GMOA) Secretary, Dr. Senal Fernando said.
The GMOA Secretary said that the Epidemiology Unit should present statistics on senior citizens who had been vaccinated. Dr. Fernando said that failure to follow a proper vaccination process was the main reason why the country had to go into a lockdown.
“We have to reduce the number of deaths because this is the most sensitive aspect of the pandemic. When the discussion on vaccination commenced, the GMOA and other experts said that those over 60 must be vaccinated first because it would prevent 90% of deaths,” he said.
The GMOA Secretary said that some officers of the Epidemiology Unit had decided that those between 30 and 60 too should be vaccinated. The GMOA informed the President that the government policy was flawed.
“Because we are focusing on two groups, we have not been able to prioritise the elderly. As everyone who understood the pandemic predicted that most of Sri Lankan COVID-19 deaths are among those over 60. Statistics show that 88% of senior citizens who died had not been fully vaccinated,” he said.
Dr. Fernando claimed that most vaccines had been released to the army vaccination centres and the Health Ministry-run vaccination centres had been neglected, he alleged.
“This eroded the public faith in the Health Ministry-run vaccination programme. The government must at least now focus on vaccinating everyone over 60,” he added.
A spokesman for the army said that their involvement dramatically expanded the rate of vaccination. The army had no intention of undermining the health sector and they only stepped in because President Gotabaya Rajapaksa asked them to, he said.
“There is no need to debate this. The people of the country know how efficiently we ran the vaccination process. This is despite many efforts to undermine us,” he said.
Singer Sri Lanka bags top awards
Singer Sri Lanka PLC clinched the People’s Brand of the Year and Durable Brand of the Year Awards for the 17th consecutive year at the SLIM-KANTAR Awards held at the Monarch Imperial on 27th March, 2023. Singer Sri Lanka PLC Chairman Mohan Pandithage receiving the award from Chief Guest, Sri Lanka Test Cricket Captain Dimuth Karunaratne and Guest of Honour, Past President-SLIM Kalana Ratnayake at the glittering ceremony. Singer Sri Lanka PLC CEO Mahesh Wijewardene, Marketing Director, Shanil Perera, Marketing Manager, Piyum Jayathilaka and other senior officials were present. Pic by Kamal Bogoda
SJB trade unionist calls for significant fuel price reduction
By Shamindra Ferdinando
Convenor of the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) trade union wing, Samagi Joint Trade Union Alliance, Ananda Palitha yesterday (28) said that with the appreciation of rupee against the USD and comparatively lower crude prices in the world market, the government could reduce the price of litre of petrol (92 Octane) and diesel by as much as Rs 100 and petrol (95 Octane) by Rs 125.
The trade unionist said that the price of a litre of kerosene, furnace oil and naphtha, too, could be decreased by Rs 100 each.
Responding to The Island queries, the former Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) employee said that fuel prices should be revised as fast as possible for the benefit of the public.
Lanka IOC should follow the new pricing formula, the former UNP trade union leader said, strongly urging the government to re-examine the petroleum sector. It would be pertinent to mention that petroleum and water sectors, too, should be brought under the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) in terms of PUC Act No 35 of 2002, Ananda Palitha said.
Former Power and Energy Minister Udaya Gammanpila said that he was out of the country.
Therefore, I couldn’t comment without studying the latest developments.
Ananda Palitha found fault with political parties represented in parliament for the inordinate delay in fully implementing the Act that was meant to regulate three vital sectors. The PUC received authority to regulate the electricity industry, in terms of Sri Lanka Electricity Act No. 20 of 2009, Palitha said. However, respective Acts, pertaining to Petroleum and Water, were yet to be passed by Parliament, the trade union leader said pointing out that the delay on the part of the parliament seemed deliberate.
Asked whether they opposed the further liberalisation of retail market with the entry of more foreign companies, Ananda Palitha said that the Wickremesinghe-Rajapaksa government was exploiting the current political-economic-social crisis to advance the original agenda of Wickremesinghe.
“We are facing a frightening situation,” the SJB activist said, urging political parties represented in parliament to review rapid developments taking place. The entry of four foreign entities should be examined against the backdrop of Lanka IOC further expanding its operations here, Ananda Palitha said.
The outspoken trade unionist warned against moves to gradually weaken Sapugaskanda oil refinery to pave the way for increased import of refined products. “The refinery that launched operations in 1969 during Dudley Senbanayake’s era received the attention of President J.R. Jayewardene and Ranasinghe Premadasa. But, since then no President paid attention to the facility,” Ananda Palitha said. Instead of enhancing its capacity, successive governments were working overtime to weaken it for obvious reasons, the trade unionist said.
According to him, all were attacking Power and Energy Minister Kanchana Wijesekera over the continuing crisis in the petroleum sector. “We should question President Ranil Wickremesinghe, Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena, Cabinet-of-Ministers headed by the President and the relevant Sectoral Oversight Committee,” Ananda Palitah said.
Ananda Palitha said that political parties as well as some trade unions should accept responsibility for the pathetic situation in the petroleum sector. For want of a cohesive action plan, politicians and interested parties regardless of on and off setbacks were able to pursue their agendas detrimental to Sri Lanka, he said.
IGP gets three months more
IGP C. D. Wickremaratne has received a three month extension from President Ranil Wickremesinghe, police headquarters said last night. Wickremaratne was to retire on March 25th.
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