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NOCPCO takes stock of situation in wake of resurgence of highly contagious virus

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State Minister of Skills Development, Vocational Education, Research and Innovation, Dr. Seetha Arambepola at the NOPCO meeting

The National Operations Centre for Prevention of COVID- 19 Outbreak (NOCPCO) evaluating the current situation in the wake of resurgence of the highly contagious virus in the country has agreed that the strategies to prevent further spread of the virus needed constant reviewing and close cooperation between health and security officials, army said yesterday.

At a special discussion held Sunday at the NOCPCO, the task force closely reviewed the status quo of the epidemic, current developments and strategies to prevent further spread.

The task force extensively discussed the emergence of new clusters, application of emergency procedures, facilitation of first, second and third contacts to new Quarantine Centres (QCs), management of patients at hospitals and makeshift places, re-evaluation of existing strategies and their repercussions, interconnections between those approaches, etc.

State Minister of Skills Development, Vocational Education, Research and Innovation, Dr. Seetha Arambepola, Secretary to the Ministry of Health, Major General Sanjeewa Munasinghe, acting Director General of Health Services and Medical Specialist, Dr. S. Sridharan and a few more stakeholders attended the meeting chaired by the Head of NOCPCO, Army Commander Lt. Gen. Shavendra Silva.

At the start of the proceedings, the Army Commander presented a comprehensive account of current developments and fast increase in affected-numbers while elaborating on fast changing patterns of behavior of the emergence of clusters and more positive cases.

The task force members pointed out that strategies of managing affected patients in the wake of emergence of more positive cases at district level as well as admission possibilities that should go hand in hand with quarantining practice of first and second stage contacts should be properly interconnected in order to achieve national objectives at large without causing the epidemic to spread further.

It was also suggested that areas which were of greater relevance and importance be reviewed closely in comparison with new implications in order to get the best results out of such new adoptive methods and strategic applications as relationships with intelligence, service providers, and facilitators at the actual ground level be seen against modern technological accessories available.

The members informed that it should clearly showcase the cooperation that exists between health officials and the Army. Hence, the close evaluation of first and second contacts, self-quarantining process and tracing of such contacts were very much essential in an epidemic of this magnitude.

Participants highlighted the need of such deliberations as often as possible and application of most suitable strategic approaches as and when emergency requirements arose.



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Six nabbed with over 100 kg of ‘Ice’

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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.

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PM intervenes to iron out differences among coalition partners

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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.”

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Thilo Hoffman remembered

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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.

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