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Guidelines issued on returning Sri Lankans and tourists



All incoming passengers or tourists had to get the approval of the Foreign Ministry and other relaxant authorities or from Sri Lanka Tourism to enter the country, the Ministry of Health said yesterday issuing guidelines on quarantine measures for travellers arriving from overseas during the pandemic.

All travellers must submit health declaration forms to the staff of Airport Health Office at the arrival lounge, Director General of Health Services Dr Asela Gunawardana said.

Sri Lankans who return after two weeks of receiving Covid-19 vaccine must submit their vaccination certificate to the airport health officer. They will be transferred to a quarantine centre/hotel by the government where they will be subjected to PCR tests. Once the PCR reports are available, the passengers can be released. The passengers should arrange for their transport home.

“The passenger must then contact the nearest MOHs and show them the discharge documents issued by the quarantine authority. After informing the MOHs, they no longer have to be quarantined. However, after seven days of arrival visitors have to undergo PCR testing again. If they test positive, health authorities will take appropriate action.

Sri Lankans who arrive without taking the vaccine or waiting for two weeks after vaccination need to stay in a quarantine centre until two PCR tests are done, on day one and on day seven. If both tests are negative, they can leave the quarantine centre/ hotel. The passengers should arrange for their transport.

“Drivers of these vehicles should wear appropriate PPEs and adhere to CIVID-19 guidelines when transporting passengers. As with the previous category, these individuals must also report to the MOH and present the discharge document by the quarantine authority. The balance of the 14 days of quarantine must be spent at home under the supervision of the MOH.

Tourists who arrive in Sri Lanka two weeks after vaccination would adhere to the same guidelines as Sri Lankans of the same category. If the PCR test done on day one is negative, they still have to wait in hotels until a second PCR test on the seventh day clears them to enter the bio-bubble and visit approved tourist sites.

Tourists who arrive without vaccination or completing two weeks after taking the jab will have to undergo mandatory quarantine in a certified hotel for tourists. “They will have to undergo PCR testing within 24 hours of arrival. They leave the country within 14 days, the second PCR test must be done depending the date of the departure and they will be allowed to leave if they test negative. For example if the tourist is leaving on day eight, a PCR test must be done on the 5th or 7th day. If the tourist stays for only 96 hours in Sri Lanka, there is no need for exit PCR tests. If the tourist stays 14 days or more, the second PCR must be done between 11th and 14th day.



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Overtime gravy train for public sector back



Govt. MPs make contradictory statements on state of economy

By Shamindra Ferdinando

UNP National List MP Wajira Abeywardena on Sunday (26) disclosed the issuance of a circular by the Finance Ministry to restore overtime and other payments in the public sector.

The declaration was made in Galle soon after Transport and Media Minister Bandula Gunawardane lamented that the government was short of billions of rupees to pay public sector salaries, pensions, Samurdhi payments and meet recurrent expenditure.

Minister Gunawardena and UNP National List MP Abeywardena addressed the local media after the handing over of several buses to the Galle SLTB depot.

Cabinet Spokesman Gunawardena said that the government needed as much as Rs 196 bn before the Sinhala and Tamil New Year and its projected revenue was Rs 173 bn. In addition to that Rs 500 mn was required to settle what Minister Gunawardena called bilateral debt.

Minister Gunawardane said that a part of the first tranche of USD 333 mn from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) would be utilised to pay public sector salaries.

Of the USD 333 mn received so far, USD 121 had been used to pay the first installment of USD 1 bn credit line secured from India early last year, according to State Finance Minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya.

Power and Energy Minister Kanchana Wijesekera in the second week of August last year revealed as much as Rs 3 bn had been paid as overtime to Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) workers for several months. This disclosure was made in response to a query raised by Chief Opposition Whip Lakshman Kiriella.

One of the major demands of the public sector trade unions on the warpath over the Wickremesinghe-Rajapaksa government’s new tax formula is the restoration of overtime.

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Now, Opposition wants Finance Secy. hauled up before Privileges Committee



Prof G L Peris

Prof. G. L. Peiris yesterday (27) urged Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena to act speedily on the main Opposition Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) request to summon Finance Secretary Mahinda Siriwardena before the parliamentary Committee on Ethics and Privileges.

Addressing the media on behalf of the Freedom People’s Alliance, the former External Affairs Minister said that the Treasury Secretary had challenged the parliament by withholding funds allocated in the budget 2023 to the Election Commission thereby sabotaging the election.

Prof. Peiris said that there couldn’t be a far worse violation of parliamentary privileges than a government official undermining Parliament.

Instead of appreciating the intervention made by the Supreme Court to facilitate the delayed Local Government polls, the ruling party had sought to challenge the apex court, Prof. Peiris said, urging Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena to fulfill his obligations.

Prof. Pieris said that if the government lacked funds, just one percent of USS 333 mn received from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) was sufficient to conduct the election.

The ex-minister said that the IMF wouldn’t oppose the utilisation of a fraction of the first tranche of USD 2.9 bn loan facility provided over a period of four years to guarantee the constitutional rights of the Sri Lankan electorate. (SF)

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Cabinet nod for fuel distribution by three foreign companies



By Rathindra Kuruwita

Minister of Power and Energy Kanchana Wijesekera announced yesterday that the Cabinet of Ministers has granted approval for allowing China’s Sinopec, Australia’s United Petroleum and RM Parks of the USA, in collaboration with multinational Oil and Gas Company – Shell plc, to enter the fuel retail market in Sri Lanka.

The minister said that each of the three companies would be given 150 dealer operated fuel stations, which are currently operated by Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC). A further 50 fuel stations at new locations will be established by each selected company, he said.

They will be granted licences to operate for 20 years to import, store, distribute and sell petroleum products in Sri Lanka, the minister tweeted.

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