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Intercollegiate Committee of SLMA too urges severe mobility restrictions



The breakdown of the entire healthcare system is around the corner, Intercollegiate Committee of the Sri Lanka Medical Association (SLMA) told President Gotabaya Rajapaksa in a letter. The Intercollegiate Committee said that the government needs to impose severe mobility restrictions and allocate Pfizer, Moderna or AstraZeneca vaccines that can give some immunity from one jab to those over 60 and other high risk people.

The letter in full: “All hospitals that provide services for the care of COVID-19 patients have exceeded their full capacity and are left with no vacant beds available for any new COVID-19 patients. As hospitals continue to expand space for COVID-19 patients endlessly, the services available for other diseases are also being severely compromised. The spread of the infection among healthcare workers has led to their falling ill leading to a severe shortage of staff. All these have affected the care given for COVID and Non-COVID patients, which is likely to lead to an invariable breakdown of the entire healthcare system and increasing death rates in the near future. There is an urgent need for a rapid reduction in the number of cases of COVID 19, and this could only be achieved by severe mobility restrictions.

“Allocation of Pfizer, Moderna or AZ Vaccines for Over 60 and Other High Risk People

“Vaccination significantly reduces severe disease and death caused by COVID 19 infection. Certain vaccines such as Moderna, Pfizer-biontech and AstraZeneca evoke a significant protection following a single dose of the vaccine, while a single dose of Sinopharm provides no protection until two weeks after a second dose is given. As there is a need for rapidly inducing immunity in high risk individuals such as those with comorbidities and in older people over 60 years, we consider vaccinating older people and people with comorbidities with the above-mentioned vaccines would save more lives. They could be vaccinated in the community as well as in the hospitals. Having taken the above factors into consideration we earnestly request you to seriously consider implementing the following steps urgently.

• To declare a very severe mobility restriction amounting to a lockdown for a minimum of two weeks while maintaining essential services and the programme for vaccination uninterrupted.

• To allocate vaccines that provide some immunity even with a single dose to all elders and to people with comorbidities.

“We hereby wish to state that the Council of the Sri Lanka Medical Association and the Intercollegiate Committee are committed to assist your good self in all your endeavours to safeguard the health of the

nation and seek an urgent meeting with Your Excellency to explain in full the implications of the current scenario.

“We would be most grateful if an appointment could be granted to us to further discuss this very important matter, as soon as possible.”

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Central Bank urged to save collapsing local industries



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.


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



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



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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