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UL flight attendants give rare dressing down to SL Tourism Chairperson

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The Flight Attendants Union of SriLankan Airlines yesterday expressed their dismay at the request made by the Chairperson of Sri Lanka Tourism Kimarli Fernando to do away with the requirement that fully vaccinated flight crew wear PPEs.

Union President, Sidath Dedigama has in a letter to Fernando, said that they are perturbed and disheartened by the “extremely irresponsible” request she made to the Director General of Health Services by way of the letter ref: SLTDA/CHA/391.

“At the onset we wish to state in no uncertain terms that the FAU as a responsible Union will take all measures, lawfully available, to protect the crew, the general public and specifically the passengers and the children under the age of 12 who are not vaccinated that you are callously attempting to place in grave danger,” Dedigama said.

Sri Lanka is currently under lockdown due to the spread of the Delta variant and everyone has to act responsibly, he has said. It was through that all coronavirus variants entered Sri Lanka, he said.

“Vaccinated or not, Crew can get infected, carry the virus, and infect others. We also wish to state that the FAU wholeheartedly supports responsible tourism, wherein primarily the citizens of our nation are protected and the tourist who travel to Sri Lanka are truly protected. Tourists need to understand that they are travelling to a destination that has taken precautions to protect them from COVID-19, instead of letting our guard down and placing them in grave danger,” he said.

Sri Lanka needs to protect its citizens to show the world that Sri Lanka is a safe destination. Tourism officials must show the world that Sri Lanka is a responsible tourist destination and not one of ignorance and or greed, Dedigama said.

“Your insinuation that frontline staff have to let our guard down, in order for you to promote our destination is a direct insinuation that the very tourists you are trying to bring down to Sri Lanka are gullible. The picture you are attempting to paint to the tourist, is false and misleading, especially at a time a highly infectious variant of the virus is prevalent in our Country,” he said.

The Flight Attendants Union President told Fernando that Sri Lanka must not be reckless in its attempts to woo tourists. He said that wearing PPE for long hours in an aeroplane is not an easy task but attendants wear it because it is a lifesaving necessity during a pandemic.

“We don such PPE, not by choice but by genuine necessity. We will be the first to doff the PPE when it is opportune and safe not only for us but also the passenger. Since the advent of the new potent variant of the virus to Sri Lanka, the FAU worked diligently with the SriLankan airlines Management in enhancing the health and safety protocols, thus ensuring that the Crew and passengers are duly protected from the virus,” he said.

SriLankan management and staff assessed the situation for days and came up with best processes to minimise risk for everyone on a plane, Dedigama said. They have adhered to WHO, IATA and ICAO standards and made Sri Lankan one of the safest airlines in the world for passengers to travel, he said.

“Whilst our jobs depend on the very tourists you are trying to woo by deception, it is our position that we have a greater duty of care to the passengers we carry in our aircraft. As such, as a responsible Union we reiterate that responsible tourism should be what is promoted for Sri Lanka by way of genuinely being responsible for their safety and wellbeing” Dedigama said.

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Flight Attendants Union of SriLankan Airlines yesterday expressed their dismay at the request made by Chairperson of Sri Lanka Tourism Kimarli Fernando to remove the requirement where fully vaccinated flight crew had to wear PPEs.

Union President, Sidath Dedigama writing to Fernando said that they are perturbed and disheartened at the “extremely irresponsible” request she made to the Director General of Health Services by way of your letter ref: SLTDA/CHA/391.

“At the onset we wish to state in no uncertain terms that the FAU as a responsible Union will take all measures, lawfully available, to protect the crew, the general public and specifically the passengers and the children under the age of 12 who are not vaccinated that you are callously attempting to place in grave danger,” Dedigama said.

Sri Lanka is currently under lockdown due to the spread of the Delta variant and everyone has to act responsibly, he said. It was through that all coronavirus variants entered Sri Lanka, he said.

“Vaccinated or not, Crew can get infected, carry the virus, and infect others. We also wish to state that the FAU wholeheartedly supports responsible tourism, wherein primarily the citizens of our nation are protected and the tourist who travel to Sri Lanka are truly protected. Tourists need to understand that they are travelling to a destination that has taken precautions to protect them from COVID-19, instead of letting our guard down and placing them in grave danger,” he said.

Sri Lanka needs to protect its citizens to show the world that Sri Lanka is a safe destination. Tourism officials must show the world that Sri Lanka is a responsible tourist destination and not one of ignorance and or greed, Dedigama said.

“Your insinuation that frontline staff have to let our guard down, in order for you to promote our destination is a direct insinuation that the very tourists you are trying to bring down to Sri Lanka are gullible. The picture you are attempting to paint to the tourist, is false and misleading, especially at a time a highly infectious variant of the virus is prevalent in our Country,” he said.

The Flight Attendants Union President told Fernando that Sri Lanka must not be reckless in its attempts to woo tourists. He said that wearing PPE for long hours in an aeroplane is not an easy task but attendants wear it because it is a lifesaving necessity during a pandemic.

“We don such PPE, not by choice but by genuine necessity. We will be the first to doff the PPE when it is opportune and safe not only for us but also the passenger. Since the advent of the new potent variant of the virus to Sri Lanka, the FAU worked diligently with the SriLankan airlines Management in enhancing the health and safety protocols, thus ensuring that the Crew and passengers are duly protected from the virus,” he said.

SriLankan management and staff assessed the situation for days and came up with best processes to minimise risk for everyone on a plane, Dedigama said. They have adhered to WHO, IATA and ICAO standards and made Sri Lankan one of the safest airlines in the world for passengers to travel, he said.

“Whilst our jobs depend on the very tourists you are trying to woo by deception, it is our position that we have a greater duty of care to the passengers we carry in our aircraft. As such, as a responsible Union we reiterate that responsible tourism should be what is promoted for Sri Lanka by way of genuinely being responsible for their safety and wellbeing” Dedigama said.



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Central Bank urged to save collapsing local industries

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The National Freedom Front (NFF) has requested the immediate intervention of the Governor of the Central Bank Ajith Nivard Cabraal to save micro, small and medium scale industries badly affected by the current economic downturn caused by the Covid-19.

The NFF parliamentary group comprises six members, including one National List.

Industries Minister Wimal Weerawansa, on behalf of the SLPP constituent parties, has warned of steep increase in unemployment, drop in the contribution made by small and medium scale industries to the national economy and the further widening of the gap between the rich and poor.

Party sources told The Island that the NFF had decided to take up the urgent matter because, in spite of repeated promises, those who had been severely affected were yet to receive assistance. Minister Weerawansa has urged the Central Bank to restructure loans obtained by affected industries and also extend the moratorium.

Weerawansa has in a letter dated Oct.18, told Cabraal that according to a survey conducted by the Industrial Development Board, micro, small and medium enterprises suffered serious setbacks. However, of the loans made available through the banking sector, a substantial segment had been disbursed among major players, the Minister said, while pointing out that in other countries in the region more than 50 percent of total loans were made available to micro, small and medium industries.

Unfortunately, here in Sri Lanka they received approximately 15 percent of the total given as loans, the minister said.

Minister Weerawansa said that though industries suffered, almost all state and private banks had recorded much improved performances with significant profits.

The Minister said that following his intervention with the cabinet of ministers, the government agreed on a plan of action to deal with the situation. It would be the responsibility of the Central Bank to implement the agreed proposals, he said.

(SF)

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So far no side effects among Pfizer vaccinated 15,000 A/L students

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By Rathindra Kuruwita

Over 15,000 GCE AL students had been vaccinated with Pfizer and there had not been any side effects, Colombo District Director of Health Dr. Dilip Liyanage told the media yesterday.

He said that the Ministry of Education had given them a list of 20,688 that needed to be vaccinated.

“We would like to assure parents that there is no need to worry. Over 15,000 children have been vaccinated and there have been no problems so far. Trust the health professionals and vaccinate your child at the first opportunity you get,” he said.

Dr. Liyanage added that children who missed their chance to get vaccinated on weekdays, can get vaccinated at the MOH office near their home.

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Govt. approves prohibition of cattle slaughter

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The government has approved the prohibition of cattle slaughter. The decision was announced at the weekly Cabinet meeting at the Information Department yesterday (19). The government said the relevant laws and regulations, including those passed by Local Government authorities would be amended for that purpse.

The Legal Draftsman has drafted Bills to amend the following acts and ordinances.

• Authority 272 of the Cattle Slaughter Ordinance No. 9 of 1893

• Act No. 29 of 1958 Concerning Animals

• Municipal Councils Ordinance – Section 252

• Section 255 of the Municipal Councils Ordinance

• Ordinance No. 15 of the Urban Council Act of 1987

The Attorney General has certified that the said Bills do not clash with the provisions of the Constitution.

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