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NMRA approves Oxford /AstraZeneca vaccine for emergency use – Prof. Jayasumana



By Rathindra Kuruwita

The National Medicines Regulatory Authority (NMRA) had given regulatory clearance for the emergency use of Oxford /AstraZeneca, State Minister Prof. Channa Jayasumana told reporters on Friday (22).

Jayasumana said the vaccine would reach Sri Lanka soon and that it was the first time the NMRA had approved a COVID-19 vaccine.

The State Minister of Pharmaceutical Production, Supply and Regulation said that the NMRA had also received applications to bring down other COVID-19 vaccines.

“We took this decision at a meeting of the NMRA,” he said.

Prof. Jayasumana said COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca was expected to work by preparing the body to defend itself against coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. The virus used proteins on its outer surface, called spike proteins, to enter the body’s cells and cause disease, he added.

He said so in the aftermath of the detection of the highested number of COVID-19 cases in a day on Thursday. The number of infections was 887. The previous record daily case count was on 02 December 2020 when 878 detections were made.

Cases were reported in all 25 Districts on Thursday. Among them are; 337 cases in Colombo District,36 in Gampaha, 71 in Kalutara, 51 in Matale, 49 in Kandy, 47 in Galle, 33 in Kurunegala, 29 in Ampara, 25 Ratnapura, 21 in Polonnaruwa, and 14 returnees from abroad.

Among the MOH areas where a large number of detections were made are; 48 from Colombo Fort, 32 from Mount Lavinia, 29 from Maradana, 24 from Mattakkuliya, 24 from Warakamula, 21 from Piliyandala, 19 from Nittambuwa, 15 from Neluwa, 13 from Kurunegla and 12 from Pulasthipura.

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Breaking News

President Ranil Wickremasinghe calls upon chief prelates of Asgiriya and Malwatta chapters




(pic courtsey Divaina)

President Ranil Wickremasinghe called upon the chief prelates of the Asgiriya and Malwatta chapters on Thursday (02) morning to seek their blessings ahead of the 75th Independence day celebrations.

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Foreign News

US secures deal on bases to complete arc around China




US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin (R) was in the Philippines to finalise the deal (picture BBC)

BBC reported that the United States has secured access to four additional military bases in the Philippines – a key bit of real estate which would offer a front seat to monitor the Chinese in the South China Sea and around Taiwan.

With this deal, Washington has stitched the gap in the arc of US alliances stretching from South Korea and Japan in the north to Australia in the south.

The missing link had been the Philippines, which borders two of the biggest potential flashpoints, Taiwan and the South China Sea, or the West Philippine Sea as Manila insists on calling it.

The US already had limited access to five sites under the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) – the new additions and expanded access, according to a statement from Washington, will “allow more rapid support for humanitarian and climate-related disasters in the Philippines, and respond to other shared challenges”, likely a veiled reference to countering China in the region.

The statement came after Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin met Philippine President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr in Manila on Thursday.

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Nuland accuses China of failing to help SL with ‘credible and specific assurances’ acceptable to IMF



Nuland addressing the media in Colombo (pic by Thushara Atapattu)

US hopes LG polls will be held in March

By Saman Indrajith

US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, Victoria Nuland, yesterday said China had not provided credible and specific assurances to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for Sri Lanka to overcome the current economic crisis.

Addressing the media in Colombo, Nuland said: “What China has offered so far is not enough. We need to see credible and specific assurances that they will meet the IMF standard of debt relief. We, the United States, are prepared to do our part. Our Paris Club partners are prepared to do their part. India has made strong commitments that it will provide the credible assurances the IMF is looking for.”

Nuland said that India and the Paris Club had given strong assurances to the IMF to help Sri Lanka to obtain a $2.9 billion bailout.

“We want to see an IMF program as quickly as possible. That is what Sri Lanka deserves; that is what Sri Lanka needs,” Nuland said.

Nuland said the US would give Sri Lanka an additional USD 30 million to provide 96,000 schoolchildren with food.

She said Sri Lankans had taken to the streets, last year, demanding cleaner, accountable and inclusive governance, with transparency, and the government was expected to hold the elections to enable people to enjoy their democratic rights.

Nuland said that the US was glad to see that consultation between the government and other parties towards reconciliation had commenced. She said that she had met with members of the Tamil political parties, earlier yesterday. “We hope that the dialogue will continue to achieve real results such as return of the lands to their rightful owners.”

Nuland said that the US hoped that local elections would be held in March, the dialogue commenced for reconciliation would continue, and the Prevention of Terrorism Act would be reformed to meet international standards.

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