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Vaccination: No major side effects reported so far – Sudarshini



by Shamindra Ferdinando

Primary Health Care, Epidemics and COVID Disease Control State Minister Dr Sudarshini Fernandopulle yesterday said that those who had received the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine hadn’t so far reported major side effects.

The vaccination programme was continuing quite successfully, Dr. Fernandopulle said, as the total number of persons vaccinated by 2 pm, on Monday reached 60,000.

The State Minister said so in response to The Island query whether hospitals and other locations where frontline health workers received vaccine reported post-vaccination problems.

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa last Thursday (28) received the first 500,000 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine from India, which has donated the shots to eight countries in the region. The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine was manufactured by the Serum Institute of India.

The government earlier announced approximately 150,000 health workers and 115,000 selected military and police personnel would be immunized at six hospitals in Colombo and its suburbs.

Asked whether India had sent medical personnel along with the consignment of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine in case of emergency, Dr. Fernandopulle, who had been also at the BIA with President Rajapaksa to receive the Indian consignment, emphasized as expected from any vaccine, fever, body aches and pain at the injections sites had been reported. “Our doctors and other medical personnel are capable of handling emergency and ready to face any eventuality,” Dr. Fernandopulle said, adding that there was no requirement to bring in doctors from India.

Responding to another query, the State Minister pointed out Sri Lanka had the experience in managing very efficient childhood vaccination programme. Dr. Fernandopulle gave the required leadership in the absence of health minister Pavitra Wanniarachchi receiving treatment for Covid-19.

According to the State Minister, those who had received the first dose could take the second in four weeks. Sri Lanka launched its vaccination programme on January 29. Asked whether the vaccination programme covered the entire country, lawmaker Fernandopulle said it was being implemented in MOH areas in all provinces. “Hospital workers have to get the second dose from the same place and very often it is the place of work,” Dr. Fernandopulle said.

Dr. Fernandopulle received the new appointment several weeks ago as the government battled uphill battle to bring the epidemic under control.

The State Minister urged the public to strictly follow health guidelines though the vaccination programme was underway. Protection provided to medical staff engaged in Covid-19 control efforts would certainly enhance confidence among the public, Dr. Fernandopulle said.

At one point the Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) warned of government hospitals as well as military-run facilities that accommodated the affected persons being overwhelmed.

Dr. Fernandopulle said that the situation would continue to improve as the government brought the first round of vaccination programme to a successful conclusion.

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MP’s wife, father-in-law among three detained



Rishad held under PTA to be questioned

16-year-old girl’s death:

By Shamindra Ferdinando

Police investigating the death of 16-year-old Ishalini, the domestic servant at All Ceylon Makkal Congress (ACMC) leader Rishad Bathiudeen’s Baudhaloka Mawatha residence have arrested Ayesha Shiabdeen, 46, the wife of the former minister.

Police also took into custody Rishad’s father-in-law Mohammed Shiabdeen, 70, and Ponnaiah Pandaram alias Shankar, 64, a resident of Dayagama.

Police Spokesman Senior DIG Ajith Rohana said that Shankar had brought Ilashini from Dayagama to the Baudhaloka Mawatha residence of Samagi Jana Balavegaya (SJB) Vanni District lawmaker late last year.

Having studied the post postmortem report, they were taken into custody in terms of Section 360 C and Section 308 B of the Penal Code that dealt with human trafficking and cruelty to children, the top police officer said. According to him, so far 20 statements had been recorded.

Asked whether MP Bathiudeen, too, had been among the questioned, Senior DIG Rohana said the parliamentarian detained under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) over 2019 Easter Sunday carnage, too, would be interrogated in that regard.

The ACMC contested the last general election on the SJB ticket. It switched its allegiance to the SJB ahead of 2020 general election after having represented the cabinet in UNP led yahapalana administration. Rishad has also served President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s cabinet during his second term.

Having suffered serious burn injuries on July 3 at the MP’s residence and admitted to the National Hospital, Illashini succumbed to her injuries on July 15th. Medical examination revealed that she had been raped over a period of time.

The police spokesman said that they intended to secure court approval to detain the suspects for 72 hours. A Superintendent of Police could obtain such approval on the strength of a B report submitted to the court in respect of offenses on children.

Although, the police indicated earlier in the day they would be produced in Colombo Magistrate court they weren’t brought in.

Meanwhile, the SJB said that interested parties were making a despicable attempt to politicize the incident. The police should be allowed to conduct the investigation without interference, a spokesman for the main Opposition party said.


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Women’s organisations in North conduct protests demanding justice for Ilashini



A section of those engaged in Jaffna protests


By Dinasena Ratugamage

Women’s organisations in the North yesterday held a number of demonstrations in Vavuniya, Mannar, Kilinochchi and Jaffna against the death of J. Ilashini, the 16 -year-old girl who died while working at SJB MP Rishad Bathiudeen’s residence.

The protesters urged authorities to ensure that investigations into the death are conducted in a transparent manner. The family of the victim should be compensated and those guilty punished, they said.

Representatives of the organisations said that if justice was not done, they would hold a massive demonstration in Tarapuram, Mannar, which Bathiudeen represents in Parliament.

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Dancer lodges complaint with police over FB post 



Police headquarters yesterday (23) said that dancer Anusha Damayanthi had lodged a complaint with the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) over a Facebook post alleging that she was running a brothel.

Police headquarters said that Damayanthi, while denying the accusation, had also brought to the CID’s notice that a minister was being accused of lambasting the Walana anti-crime strike force for carrying out the raid. Police said that an investigation was underway.

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