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MInuwangoda no longer COVID-19 high risk zone – MOH

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The Minuwangoda Divisional Secretariat area is no longer a highly vulnarable area for COVID-19, Minuwangoda MOH, Dr. Kumari Jayasuriya said.

 She said they had recommended to the health authorities that the three Grama Niladhari divisions currently under lockdown be opened up.

 The threat of COVID-19 however was high in other MOH areas of the Gampaha District, Dr. Jayasuriya said, adding that if the residents of Minuwangoda adhere to the health guidelines, it might be possible to relax the quarantine curfew.

 She made the observations yesterday at a meeting held at Minuwangoda Divisional Secretariat office, chaired by Minister Prasanna Ranatunga.

 Since the second wave of COVID-19 commenced at the Brandix factory in Minuwangoda, 11,000 PCR tests have been done in 121 Grama Niladari divisions of Minuwangoda. 680 had tested COVID-19 positive and three Grama Niladari divisions, Ganihimulla, Peralanda and Helakandana near the factory were declared isolated areas.

 Dr. Jayasuriya said that almost all residents of those three Grama Niladari divisions had been tested for COVID-19. 48 from Ganihimulla, 32 from Peralanda and 16 at Helakandana had tested positive for COVID-19.

 The MOH added that four weeks had passed since 03 October, when the cluster at Brandix factory was detected and if people in Minuwangoda acted in a disciplined manner, restrictions could be relaxed. (RK)



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Economic crisis: 100,000 families already starving

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Govt. to provide monthly assistance package – official

By Ifham Nizam 

Plans are underway to assist an average needy family of  four with a monthly package of Rs. 15,000, a senior adviser to President Ranil Wickremesinghe said yesterday, adding that the move was expected to help ameliorate the plight of nearly 65,000 families.

Food Security Committee Chairman Dr. Suren Batagoda told The Island yesterday that at present some 100,000 families across the country were starving.

He said financial assistance would be provided to those families for three months. Within three months, the government would design a package in the form of food stamps, etc.

Dr. Batagoda said the World Food Programme, UNICEF, the World Bank, and state agencies would also team up to strengthen food security, focusing especially on needy pregnant mothers and pre-school children.

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GR govt. ignored Chinese lenders’ request for debt restructuring

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By Rathindra Kuruwita

The Gotabaya Rajapaksa government had ignored suggestions by Chinese lending institutions that Sri Lanka to restructure the debt in 2021, Prof. Samitha Hettige said yesterday.

“The Rajapaksa government started talking of debt restructuring earlier this year. The Opposition had been asking for this before,” he said.  By 2021, before the Gotabaya Rajapaksa administration decided on debt restructuring, the Chinese institutions that had given Sri Lanka loans suggested that a restructuring process should start since Sri Lanka would have trouble repaying the loans, the Strategic Studies scholar said.

However, the request had gone unheeded, and if the government had started discussions then, Sri Lanka would not have been in crisis, Prof. Hettige said.

The Sri Lankan foreign policy, in the last few years, had also been misguided, Prof. Hettige said. A number of Indian and Chinese companies faced unnecessary issues by the behaviour of the government, he said.

Prof. Hettige said that the government must focus on establishing free trade ports and reducing negative lists for investments.

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SJB dissociates itself from SF’s call for protest

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By Chaminda Silva

MP Sarath Fonseka’s call for people to join anti-government protests was not a decision taken by the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB), party MP J.C Alawathuwala said.

The SJB believed that they had to help President Ranil Wickremesinghe stabilise the country, economically and politically, he said.

MP Alawathuwala said the President must be given some time to solve the problems faced by the people and that the SJB was holding discussions with the government to guide it on a people-friendly path.

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