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Medical specialists denounce political interference with vaccination programme

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Recent actions of groups or individuals with political or trade union backing have caused immense damage to the country’s “vaccination fame” internationally and Sri Lanka’s ability to purchase needy vaccines in the near future, the Association of Medical Specialists (AMS) says.

AMS President, Consultant Paediatrician Dr. Lakkumar Fernando, has in a media statement, said that those groups are trying to meddle with the vaccination process and the government has to introduce a clear and strict vaccine rollout plan to streamline the vaccination programme and restore public confidence therein.

Given below is the AMS statement: “We have witnessed the COVID-19 vaccination programme taking another dramatic turn today to display the thuggery of the Mayor of the Moratuwa Urban Council.

“While saluting the Medical officer of Health (MOH) for her courage and forthrightness, we blame law enforcement authorities who failed to exercise their power to protect and defend a high ranking public servant on duty in Moratuwa.

“We have come to know about several such ugly acts of politicians in Kurunegala and Galle as well during this vaccine roll out. We have already protested against certain high handed actions of powerful health sector trade union in relation to the administration of the second dose of AstraZeneca vaccine. We condemn such interference by any groups or individuals with political or trade union’s backing.

“We as a professional trade union have very clearly predicted the chaotic situation which could arise as a result of authorities losing the grip of the vaccination programme against

Covid-19 at this critical juncture. Any rational individual with common sense would know it’s detrimental effect on the success of the whole programme and hence on our economic recovery.

“We urge authorities to introduce a clear and strict vaccine roll out plan even at this late stage as this is the final rescue mission to put our programme on track to win the confidence of the general public while successfully beating the pandemic. In the absence of such a firm, organized plan we are bound to fail in achieving our goal.

“Further, this kind of ad hoc interferences by various groups violating scientific prioritization of vaccination roll out has already caused immense damage to our “vaccination fame” internationally and our ability to purchase needy vaccines in the near future.

Therefore, we would like to warn relevant authorities that this would be the last opportunity to intervene at the highest level to clear this mess to enable our front line workers and the general public to get this important vaccine in a scientifically organized manner.”



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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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