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X-Press Pearl wreck cannot be moved for three months – Officials

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By Ifham Nizam

It would not be possible to tow away the wreck of MVX-Press Pearl until the end of the monsoon season, Environment Ministry Secretary, Dr. Anil Jasinghe said during a discussion under the theme, Looking beyond X-Press Pearl, at the Information Department yesterday in Colombo.

Dr. Jasinghe added that representatives of X-Press Feeders, the operators of the ill-fated ship, were monitoring the wreck through a caretaker company and 10 thematic groups were studying various aspects of the disaster.

“The sea is very rough and we can’t do anything now. We have to wait till things settle down a bit,” Dr. Jasinhe said. None of the officials were willing to reveal the estimated cost of the removal of the wreck.

The plastic pellets that were released with the sire n the ship were being detected on beaches in seven districts, Central Environmental Authority (CEA) Chairman S. Amarasinghe said. The entire coastal stretch from Matara to Mannar has been affected, he said.

“We are keeping the collected pellets for legal purposes and will destroy them later,” he said.

Commenting on the impact the disaster would have on tourism, Sri Jayawardanapura, Economics Department and Forestry and Environment Science, Professor Prasanthi Gunawardena said that losses would be incalculable.

Prof. Gunawardena added that the incident would have a significant impact on the fisheries industry and deprive many Sri Lankans of their main source of protein.

“Children need protein and most of our kids get their protein from fish. How do we calculate the impact this will on their health?

Marine Environment Protection Authority Chairperson, Darshani Lahandapura said that a grey sheen continued to emanate from the vessel, and discolouration of the sea in and around the wreck remains.

“This has been apparent since the vessel’s stern became submerged, and the remnants of the cargo in the 1486 containers that were onboard were exposed to seawater,” she said.



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Washington will continue to support Lanka’s fight against Covid-19

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US Ambassador to Sri Lanka Alaina B. Teplitz explaining a point to Speaker Mahinda Yapa Aebywardena during their meeting yesterday.

US Ambassador to Sri Lanka Alaina B. Teplitz yesterday said that the US would continue to support Sri Lanka’s fight against Covid-19 through the COVAX facility.

She made the pledge during a courtesy call on Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena yesterday, Parliament sources said.

Marcus Carpenter, Deputy Chief of political division and Kushani Rohanadeera, Deputy Secretary-General of Parliament and Chief of Staff were also present at the meeting which was held at the Speaker’s Office in Parliament.

A number of issues of mutual interest were discussed between Sri Lanka and the US, including diplomatic and economic matters. Furthermore, the future intended investments of the United States in Sri Lanka for the future of the energy sector were also discussed, sources said.

The US Ambassador to Sri Lanka expressed how pleased she was over the steps taken to establish a Special Committee for the purpose of reforming the current electoral system in Sri Lanka and the steps taken by Parliament to re-establish the Sectoral Oversight Committees of Parliament.

The Ambassador also informed the Speaker that the US continues to support the development of Sri Lanka and protect democracy in the face of COVID faced by the whole world.

 

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Institute of Chemistry organises webinar on ‘Genes, Immunity and COVID-19 Vaccines’

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Arrangements have been made by the Institute of Chemistry Ceylon to conduct a webinar on “Genes, Immunity and COVID-19 Vaccines” with the intention of disseminating awareness on the widely spread COVID-19 and the importance of vaccination.

The webinar will be held via zoom from 8.30 am to 12.00 noon on Sept 4, a press release issued by the Institute said yesterday.

It said: The ongoing COVID-19 outbreak that originated in the city of Wuhan, China, has claimed countless lives within a span of two years causing significant damage to the world’s population and the global economy. Within the passage of a year, the emergence of changing COVID-19 variants with higher transmissibility, increased fatality was discovered around the globe. Currently, Sri Lanka is fighting the third wave of coronavirus and there has been an increase in the number of cases of the highly transmissible Delta variant of coronavirus across the country.

With the current situation, the need and importance of vaccination has become a vital tool in the battle against coronavirus. Vaccines save millions of lives each year and the development of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines is a huge step taken forward in the effort to end the pandemic. Misinformation on COVID-19 vaccines provided by different information channels have led to hesitations in accepting the COVID-19 vaccine among the population. This seminar will provide information on COVID-19 vaccines currently available and will be an immense help to clear any doubt with regards to COVID-19 vaccines.

The programme hopes to cover topics such as “Genomics of COVID-19” by Dr. Sameera. R. Samarakoon. “COVID-19 and Nutrition” by Prof. Ranil Jayawardena, “Immune response in COVID- 19: friend or foe” by Dr. Narmada Fernando, “COVID-19 Vaccine: What is Best” by Prof. Chandima Jeewandra and “Concluding Remarks and a Q&A session” by Prof. Nimal Punyasiri. The seminar will be moderated by Prof. Chayanika Padumadasa.

You can register to this webinar by visiting the IchemC website (ichemc.edu.lk) while more information can be obtained by contacting the Institute at 011-2861231. Also you may obtain information by sending an email to covidseminar21@gmail.com

For more details, please contact Ms. Nishadi (077 730 6270) / Ms. Shanali (076 553 2142)

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COVID Shield app introduced to Sri Lanka to fight against COVID-19 pandemic

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Health Informatics Society of Sri Lanka (HISSL) and the Commonwealth Centre for Digital Health (CWCDH) have introduced the COVID Shield app to Sri Lanka to fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

The COVID Shield App allows users to assess their lung health on a regular basis to identify deteriorations associated with COVID-19 early.

The app uses the in-built sound recording features of a smartphone to analyze the breathing sounds and gather additional data when the user performs several simple tests to determine breathing performance.

The app tracks lung health along with other symptoms to support identifying COVID-19 related deterioration early.

In addition to identifying the state of lung health, COVID Shield is also capable of providing the users with alerts based on overall assessment of his or her symptoms. Based on these alerts, the users can take the next step without delaying seeking medical advice. The users will also receive COVID-19 related health education and latest statistics from reliable sources on his or her dashboard.

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