By Rathindra Kuruwita
Sri Lanka should not change quarantine laws at the whims and fancies of big businesses, President of the College of Medical Laboratory Science, Ravi Kumudesh told The Island yesterday, commenting on attempts made to relax such laws to facilitate tourist arrivals.
“Former ambassador to Russia and an architect of the plan to bring in Ukrainian tourists, Udayanga Weeratunga, tells the media that Sri Lankan quarantine laws are not practical and that it’s unrealistic to expect tourists to be quarantined for 14 days. He also tells us that there is no need to subject tourists to 5 – 6 PCR tests. These sentiments are echoed by Ministers and MPs in Parliament.”
Kumudesh said that countries like Malaysia and Thailand, which had larger tourism industries, had not changed their quarantine laws to attract tourists. Compared to Sri Lanka, the contribution of tourism to the GDP of those countries was much larger, he said.
Kumudesh said that Ukraine already had five new types of coronavirus and was struggling to contain infection in their own country. He also criticized the government for misleading people by saying that tourists remained in a Bio-secure bubble.
He said: “Bio-secure bubble is an environment where tourists are cut off from the outside world, to minimise and prevent the risk of being exposed to the coronavirus. But is it what’s happening now? No one puts COVID-19 cases, associates or those untested for the coronavirus inside such a bubble. We are also responsible to ensure the safety of tourists as well. We are heading for big trouble and if tourists contract COVID-19 here, that will spell trouble for us in the long term. If you want to change the quarantine laws, do it based on science and not because of what business people want.”
Six nabbed with over 100 kg of ‘Ice’
By Norman Palihawadane and Ifham Nizam
The Police Narcotics Bureau (PNB) yesterday arrested six suspects in the Sapugaskanda Rathgahawatta area with more than 100 kilos of Crystal Methamphetamine also known as Ice.
Police Media Spokesman, Deputy Inspector General of Police, Ajith Rohana told the media that the PNB sleuths, acting on information elicited from a suspect in custody had found 91 packets of Ice.
A man in possession of 100 kilos of heroin was arrested in Modera during the weekend and revealed that a haul of Ice had been packed in plastic boxes.
The PNB seized more than 114 kilos of Ice from the possession of a single drug network.
According to the information elicited from the suspects, more than 100 kilos of Ice were found.
The PNB also arrested six persons including two women with 13 kilos of Ice, during an operation carried out in the Niwandama area in Ja-Ela on Sunday.
DIG Rohana said the ice had been packed in small plastic boxes and hidden in two school bags.
PM intervenes to iron out differences among coalition partners
By Norman Palihawadane
Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday said that he was confident that differences among the constituents of the SLPP coalition as regards the May Day celebrations and the next Provincial Council elections could be ironed out soon.
Leaders of all SLPP allied parties have been invited to a special meeting to be held at Temple Trees with the PM presiding on April 19.
Prime Minister Rajapaksa said it was natural for members of a political alliance to have their own standpoints and views on matters of national importance. “This is due to the different political ideologies and identities. It is not something new when it comes to political alliances world over. In a way, it shows that there is internal democracy within our alliance.
The PM said: “As a result of that the allied parties may express their own views on issues, but that does not mean there is a threat to the unity of the alliance. An alliance is more vibrant and stronger not when all the parties think on the same lines but when the member parties have different ideologies.”
Thilo Hoffman remembered
A copy of the book “Politics of a Rainforest: Battles to save Sinharaja” was handed over to Dominik Furgler, the Swiss Ambassador in Sri Lanka by the author of the book, Dr. Prasanna Cooray at the Swiss Embassy in Colombo last Tuesday, to be sent to the family of the late Thilo Hoffman in Switzerland.
Hoffman, a Swiss national, who made Sri Lanka his second home for six decades, was a pioneering environmental activist who led the battles to save Sinharaja from the front in the early 1970s, abreast with the likes of Iranganie Serasinghe, Kamanie Vitharana, Lynn De Alwis and Nihal Fernando of the “Ruk Rekaganno” fame. That was the era when the trees of Sinharaja were felled for the production of plywood by the then government. Hoffman was also a livewire of the Wildlife and Nature Protection Society (WNPS) for a long time. Hoffman died in 2014 at the age of 92.
The book includes a chapter on Thilo Hoffman.
Six nabbed with over 100 kg of ‘Ice’
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