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JVP fires 10 pointed covid- related questions at govt.



by Saman Indrajith

People are dying in their hundreds daily owing to the blunders of the government which did not listen to the experts, the JVP said on Thursday.

Addressing a press conference held at the party headquarters in Pelawatte, former Kalutara District JVP MP Dr Nalinda Jayatiss said that the reasons were to be found in an inability to learn from what was known about the virus and to act accordingly. Mistakes could have been avoided if the government had listened to the health experts and WHO, drawn on a wider range of expertise, and been curious about experience in other countries.

“We have serious doubts on the motives of the government’s failure because it committed blunders that would not have been committed even by a common man. It is not the manner a government would have acted. We have ten questions to ask from the government and hope that it will be able to answer them,” the former MP said.

Dr Jayatissa said that the ten specific questions over the present state of the country, to the government, were as follows;

01. Who decided to deviate from the National Vaccination Plan, prepared by the Health Ministry on the 18th of January 2021, and not prioritize the vaccination of the over 60 population?

02. Who were the officials at the NMRA and the specialist committee on vaccinations, responsible for the delay in importing the Sinopharm vaccine to Sri Lanka? What were the steps taken against them?

03. The vaccination program was delayed. The faith placed in vaccines was ridiculed by the promotion of so-called miracle tonics, namely the Dhammika Paniya. Government Hospitals were used for this purpose. Will the state officials, state ministers, members of parliament, and heads of media institutions who promoted this tonic be held accountable?

04. Who decided not to provide sufficient vaccine doses to designated MOH areas and thus create a rift among the health officers and the public?

Who decided the type of vaccine that will be administered in a particular area?

05. Will the government record statements over data discrepancies from those who make the allegations and also those at the receiving end of those allegations?

06. Approximately 1.1 million files mysteriously disappeared from the eNMRA cloud. These are matters related to health and national security. Who will be held responsible for this?

07. What is the position of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 prevention with regard to allegations over the pricing of PCR and Rapid Antigen Tests?

08. Why hasn’t the government decided to increase the number of PCR and Rapid Antigen Tests?

09. Health Professionals such as Dr. Anil Jasinghe, Dr. Paba Palihawadana, Dr. Sudath Samaraweera, Dr. Jayaruwan Bandara, Dr. Amal Harsha, Dr. Palitha Abeyakoon, Dr. Asitha De Silva, and several others were removed from their positions. When these high ranking officials in the health sector were gaining experience on how to face this pandemic, who decided to replace or fire them?

10. There are serious warnings made over the new South African Variant. So, who decided to allow Indians to come to Sri Lanka, while such a threat exists?

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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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