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Pavitra at last finalises covid-19 gazette

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New spokesman appointed, other officials told not to deal with media; Brandix cluster 1,770

The Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) yesterday (15) discussed with Health Ministry Pavithra Wanniarachchi ways and means of bringing the Minuwangoda Covid-19 cluster under control.

Health sources said that 13 Brandix workers were among 49 more persons who tested positive yesterday. Sources said the others were relatives, friends and associates of Brandix workers attached to their apparel manufacturing facility. With yesterday’s cases, the total number of covid-19 patients rose to 1,770.

The government has ordered the closure of all cinemas till Oct 31 as Minister Wanniarachchi approved the issuance of new gazette to curb the resurgence of Covid-19. In terms of the new gazette, a person found guilty of violating rules and regulations can be fined up to Rs 10,000 or sentenced to six months imprisonment or made to undergo both. Besides, those entering work places should always wear masks, maintain one-meter distance between two persons, temperature tests should be conducted on workers before they enter workplaces, sufficient facilities and sanitizers should be made available, registers of all persons entering work places should be maintained.

Meanwhile, Director General of Health Services Dr. S. Sridharan has advised Provincial Directors and Regional Directors of Health Services and Directors/Medical superintendents of hospitals on how they should deal with print, electronic and social media. Dr. Sridharan said that Chief Epidemiologist Dr. Sudath Samaraweera would function as the official spokesman and others should refrain from talking to the media. (SF)



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President orders probe into notification issued by Department of Immigration and Emigration

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It has been reported that President Wickremesinghe ordered an investigation into the notification issued by the Department of Immigration and Emigration requesting all  Russian and Ukrainian tourists to leave the country within 14 days.

According to the President’s Media Division (PMD), the relevant notification was issued without prior approval from the Cabinet of Ministers.

The decision had reportedly been taken as certain foreign tourists are running illegal businesses in the country.

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Contentious Chinese research vessel docks in Maldives

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Xiang Yang Hong 03 has previously visited Indian Ocean on several other occasions

A contentious Chinese research ship reached the Maldives on Thursday in the latest sign of the archipelago’s diplomatic reorientation towards Beijing and away from its traditional benefactor India.

Local residents said they had spotted China’s Xiang Yang Hong 3 at the Thilafushi industrial port near the capital Male.The 100-metre-long (328-foot) vessel was at an anchorage near Male on Thursday evening, according to the website Marinetraffic.

The Maldives’ pro-Beijing government said earlier the vessel was docking for a port call to rotate crew and take on supplies, on the condition that it would not conduct “research” while in its territorial waters.

Media reports in India had suggested that the vessel was conducting surveillance for Beijing.

India is suspicious of China’s increasing presence in the Indian Ocean and its influence in Sri Lanka and the Maldives, which are strategically placed halfway along key east-west international shipping routes.Relations between Male and New Delhi have chilled since pro-China President Mohamed Muizzu won elections last year.

Muizzu has asked India to withdraw 89 security personnel based in the Maldives to operate reconnaissance aircraft by March 15.But the president has also insisted he does not want to upend ties with New Delhi by replacing Indian troops with Chinese forces.

Sri Lanka refused entry to Xiang Yang Hong 3 after two other port calls from Chinese vessels since 2022 raised objections from India.That included the ship Yuan Wang 5, which specializes in spacecraft tracking and which New Delhi described as a spy ship. (AFP)

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MP Harsha in Australia as “Special visitor”

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Harsha de Silva

Opposition MP and Chairman of the Committee on Public Finance (COPF) Harsha de Silva is currently in Australia as a special visitor.

Taking to ‘X’, the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) MP said he had embarked on a nine-day visit on an invitation extended by the Government of Australia.

“My engagements with policymakers, academics, scientists and investment managers began in Melbourne and will continue in Adelaide and then public officials and politicians in Canberra,” he added.

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