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Sri Lanka’s request for AstraZeneca vaccines from US pending

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Sri Lanka hasn’t been able to secure a sufficient stock of AstraZeneca vaccines needed for booster doses in the Western Province.

Government sources told The Island that efforts were being made to obtain over 600,000 urgently needed AstraZeneca vaccine doses. The second dose should be provided between 12 to 16 weeks.

According to Sri Lanka’s Ambassador in Washington Ravinatha Aryasinha, Sri Lanka requested US assistance in this regard in late April. The following is the text of the statement issued by the mission in Washington: “Ambassador to the USA Ravinatha Aryasinha today called on Overseas Sri Lankans (OSLs) and Friends of Sri Lanka in the US to contribute relief goods and make donations, in the face of the urgency resulting from the increasing number of COVID infected persons being detected in Sri Lanka and the challenges posed in treating them. In a communication addressed to the community, Ambassador Aryasinha said the immediate need is for ventilators, oxygen concentrators, high flow oxygen units, multi-parameter monitors, PPEs including N95 masks, telemedicine platforms which could be used by medical professionals in Sri Lanka.

Providing an update on the efforts being made to procure COVID-19 vaccines from the US, Ambassador Aryasinha said Sri Lanka’s urgent need for AstraZeneca vaccines had been well received by the US Government in late April, but the release of this vaccine to all countries in need will have to be preceded by authorization for its use by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Following the announcement on Monday (17 May) that the US will also share already domestically authorized vaccines, he said Sri Lanka is seeking to secure Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccines through this modality. Additionally, the Embassy had also facilitated discussions between the State Pharmaceuticals Corporation and the J&J Regional Manager in India, with a view to enabling the purchase of these vaccines.”

 

 



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At least 17 killed after explosion in Peshawar mosque

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(picture from twitter)

BBC reported that at least 17 people have been killed in an explosion at a mosque in the Pakistani city of Peshawar.

The blast happened when the mosque was packed with worshippers and more than 90 people were injured.

A section of the building was destroyed, and officials say people are buried under the rubble. Several others are being taken to local hospitals.

The cause of the explosion is unclear.

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More heavy rain ahead for New Zealand’s largest city

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Auckland experienced an unprecedented amount of rainfall on Friday (picture BBC)

BBC reported that residents in flood-hit northern New Zealand are bracing for more heavy rains as officials issued severe weather alerts.

At least four people have died and a state of emergency was declared in Auckland, which on Friday experienced its worst downpour on record.

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Information Dept. media release: EC Chief asks public not to be misled

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by Priyan de Silva

Chairman of the Election Commission of Sri Lanka, Nimal Punchihewa, asked to comment on a special news release, purportedly issued by the Director General of the Department of Government Information, on Sunday (29), told  The Island  that preparations for the 09 March local government elections were going ahead, as planned, and that the media statement at issue was misleading.

The media statement says: “The gazette notice with signatures of the Chairman and other members of the Election Commission required for the commencement of the Local Government election process has not been sent to the Government Press for printing.”

Punchihewa requested the public not to be misled by any misinformation being spread in an attempt to create doubts in their minds.He also  reiterated that the EC would not be deterred by any acts of intimidation.

Three of the EC members have been threatened with death by an unidentified caller to resign from their posts. They are S. B. Divaratne, M. M. Mohamed and K. P. P. Pathirana. The Opposition has accused the government of trying to sabotage the LG polls.

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