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Govt. slams brakes on private sector AZ imports

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Ceylon Chamber of Commerce “distressed” by development

by Suresh Perera

The government has so far not given the green light to the private sector to import Covid-19 vaccines because the jabs are not available for procurement anywhere in the world, a senior health official said.

The transactions and logistics involved in ordering the doses are happening either on a government to government or inter-governmental basis, he noted.

Even governments are finding it difficult to procure the required stocks of the vaccines as manufacturers cannot cope with the growing demand world-wide, he explained.

“These vaccines are not available over the counter”, he pointed out.

It was due to procurement difficulties that the private sector was asked to make use of the stocks available with the government without venturing out to import consignments on their own, the official clarified.

It was in this backdrop that a move by the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce (CCC) to import Covid-19 vaccines for the private sector was halted by the government.

However, the CCC was not happy with the sudden spoke in the wheel, which a senior official described as “distressing”.

“We were earlier asked to go ahead and explore the possibility of importing the vaccines, but they are playing a different tune after we tried to get down to the job”, he protested.

“We wouldn’t have pushed ahead if there was no mutual understand on the matter after many rounds of discussions”, he pointed out.

The whole objective was to procure 600,000 doses for private sector employees who were earlier administered the first shot of the AstraZeneca vaccine, he said.

“We wanted to foot the bill to import the second dose as these employees are still waiting for the second dose preferably from the same Indian manufacturer than opt for a ‘cocktail’ of vaccines”, he elaborated.

“This would have reduced the government’s financial burden as we were willing to import the stock at our own expense”, he said.

“However, we have been told now that it cannot be allowed”.



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At least 17 killed after explosion in Peshawar mosque

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(picture from twitter)

BBC reported that at least 17 people have been killed in an explosion at a mosque in the Pakistani city of Peshawar.

The blast happened when the mosque was packed with worshippers and more than 90 people were injured.

A section of the building was destroyed, and officials say people are buried under the rubble. Several others are being taken to local hospitals.

The cause of the explosion is unclear.

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More heavy rain ahead for New Zealand’s largest city

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Auckland experienced an unprecedented amount of rainfall on Friday (picture BBC)

BBC reported that residents in flood-hit northern New Zealand are bracing for more heavy rains as officials issued severe weather alerts.

At least four people have died and a state of emergency was declared in Auckland, which on Friday experienced its worst downpour on record.

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Information Dept. media release: EC Chief asks public not to be misled

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by Priyan de Silva

Chairman of the Election Commission of Sri Lanka, Nimal Punchihewa, asked to comment on a special news release, purportedly issued by the Director General of the Department of Government Information, on Sunday (29), told  The Island  that preparations for the 09 March local government elections were going ahead, as planned, and that the media statement at issue was misleading.

The media statement says: “The gazette notice with signatures of the Chairman and other members of the Election Commission required for the commencement of the Local Government election process has not been sent to the Government Press for printing.”

Punchihewa requested the public not to be misled by any misinformation being spread in an attempt to create doubts in their minds.He also  reiterated that the EC would not be deterred by any acts of intimidation.

Three of the EC members have been threatened with death by an unidentified caller to resign from their posts. They are S. B. Divaratne, M. M. Mohamed and K. P. P. Pathirana. The Opposition has accused the government of trying to sabotage the LG polls.

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