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New app introduced to provide wealth of data to those in medical sector combatting Covid-19

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The Western Province Health Services Office introduced a new application designed for the benefit of those who are in the medical sector and combatting COVID–19 operations to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

 The new app will be instrumental in providing a wealth of vital data, including information on COVID infected, their close associates, quarantine, PCR testing services, observations, decision making and areas closest to the infected, President’s Media Division said yesterday.

 It said that the app was introduced by a team led by Western Province Health Services Director Dhammika Jayalath on Thursday (29) during the meeting of the Task Force on COVID–19 prevention chaired by the President which meets at the Presidential Secretariat on a daily basis.

The President pointed out that the new application should be further improved so as to make information on latest developments always available. There are 350 Medical Officers Health divisions throughout the country. COVID infected persons have been identified in 28 out of these divisions. Members of the Task Force said that maximum possible measures have been taken to prevent the spread of the pathogen to other areas.

A total of 41,000 people, including first and second associates, have been quarantined to prevent the virus from spreading. President Rajapaksa emphasized the need of conducting random PCR tests covering every part of the country.

It is important to comprehensively understand the causes of the increase in COVID infected on several occasions and prevent its recurrence. Random tests were carried out continuously within the limits of Colombo Municipal Council. However, unexpected COVID clusters emerged near the Peliyagoda fish market and Minuwangoda.

Support from all parties is essential to prevent the virus from spreading locally through supply chains. The President stated that it is the social responsibility of people from all walks of life to follow health guidelines to the maximum possible extent.

Random tests should be carried out at economic centres including Dambulla. The President highlighted the importance of paying constant attention to the possible occurrence of COVID clusters.

Curfew has been imposed in the Western Province. The responsibility on the part of the health sector during the relevant period is enormous. Curfew violators should severely be dealt with. Curfew passes will not be issued by any Police Station.

However, cases of extreme urgency will be exempted.

People should not gather in risk zones. President emphasised that no opportunity should be available to congregate people at events such as weddings and religious functions within the Western Province.

Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi, Secretary to the President P.B. Jayasundera, Principal Advisor to the President Lalith Weeratunga and members of the Task Force on COVID prevention were present during the discussion.

 

 

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PSC action could cripple health services, warns GMOA Secretary

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There were vacancies for 89 specialist doctors in government teaching hospitals due to certain actions taken by the Public Service Commission (PSC), the Government Medical Officers Association (GMOA) said yesterday.

GMOA secretary Dr. Senal Fernando yesterday told The Island those vacancies had the potential to cripple the state health service, as the service was stressed due to COVID-19.

Dr. Fernando said: “Specialist doctors are appointed and transfered according to procedures established by the Health Service Minute. The Ministry of Health is responsible for the transfers and the PSC should oversee the transfering process to ensure that they are made in a proper manner.”

“The PSC has ordered the appointment of a committee to look into the matter but there is no mention of such a committee in the Health Service Minute. Instead of following the process, the PSC has tried to intervene in the process and 89 posts remain vacant during the time of COVID-19,” he said.

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Hizbullah denies links with Zahran

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But signed agreement for Zahran’s help in 2015 GE

By Rathindra Kuruwita

Former Governor of the Eastern Province, M. L. A. M. Hizbullah on Monday night told the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (PCoI) probing Easter Sunday attacks, that he had not had any links to National Thowheed Jamaat (NTJ) leader Zahran Hashim. The NTJ members had assaulted his supporters at Kattankudy in March 2017, he said.

Hizbullah said so when the Commissioners asked him about his links with Zahran.

Hizbullah was also asked about billions of rupees he had received from foreign organisations since 2016. Earlier in the day, it was revealed that close to Rs. 4 billion had been deposited by foreign individuals and institutions in two accounts Hizbullah operated at the Bank of Ceylon Colpetty Branch from 2016 to 2019.

The witness said the Sri Lanka Hira Foundation, a social service institution run by him, had received money from foreign countries after March 2016.

“Ali Abdullah al-Juffali of Saudi Arabia gave Rs. 308 million and Siddique and Diana Osmond of London gave Rs. 5.5 million,” he said.

Hizbullah added that he knew al-Juffali and some other Saudi philanthropists. Al Juffali family was one of the richest Saudis with an estimated worth USD 19.8 billion, he said.

Then, a video of a discussion Zahran had with Sibli Farooq of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress was played at the PCoI.

The video showed Zahran and Farooq talking about a sum of one million riyals that Hizbullah had allegedly received from Saudi Arabia. In the video, Zahran says that he had no problem with Hizbullah receiving money from Saudi Arabia.

In response, Hizbullah said that by the 2015 Presidential election, Farooq and Zahran had been against him. A member of the Commission then asked why Hizbullah had entered into an agreement with Zahran during an election if he had acted against him.

Hizbullah said Zahran had told, on social media, that he would support politicians who agreed to some of his proposals.” All the parties joined him. I also went along,” he said. Earlier, it was revealed that representatives for the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC,) Democratic Party, UNP, UPFA and National Front for Good Governance (NFGG) had signed agreements with Zahran in exchange for the support of NTJ in 2015.

Hizbullah was also questioned on the Aliyar clash between NTJ and Sunnath Wal Jamaat, a group that supported Hizbullah, on 10 March, 2017.

“Did you ask Zahran to surrender to the court through his mother?” a member of the Commission questioned.

“I made no such comment. I do not know if anyone in my party did so,” he said.

The Commissioners also asked Hizbullah about growing date palms in the Kattankudy area and placing Arabic billboards.

The witness replied that he had grown date palms because of the high temperatures in the area. Nameplates with Arabic letters had been put up to attract Arabic students as they were largely visiting the area, he said.

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CA annuls summons issued on President

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The Court of Appeal yesterday annulled the summons issued on President Gotabaya Rajapaksa over the disappearance of two persons in Jaffna in 2011.

Lalith Kumar Weeraraj and Kugan Muruganathan went missing in 2011. Last year, Jaffna Magistrate’s Court issued summons on Rajapaksa over a habeas corpus petition filed by the relatives of the two missing activists. They had named Rajapaksa one of the respondents since he was the Defence Secretary at the time of the disappearances.

Earlier, Rajapaksa had submitted a writ application stating that he found it difficult to appear before the Jaffna Magistrate’s Court due to security reasons. The Court of Appeal issued an injunction preventing Rajapaksa being summoned by the Magistrate.

President of the Court of Appeal A. H. M. D. Nawaz, declaring their decision, said that a Magistrate’s Court could only issue summons over a specific reason. However the Jaffna Magistrate’s Court had issued the summons based on a motion of a lawyer and that there was no legal basis for the summons. Thus, the Court of Appeal issued a writ notification declaring the summons issued by the Jaffna Magistrate’s Court void.

 

 

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