Saturday, October 31, 2020

Coronavirus spread in Sri Lanka now identified as SARS-CoV2 B.1.42

A research team led by Prof. Neelika Malavige of Department of Microbiology, Faculty of Medical Sciences of Sri Jayawardanepura University has reported to the Ministry of Health that the type of coronavirus spreading in the second wave of COVID-19 in Sri Lanka is different from the virus spread in the first wave in the country.

A team led by the same professor identified the type A virus in Sri Lanka through research carried out in April 2020. 

The SARS-CoV2 virus is categorised into three types as A, B and C. Type A is common in the US and Australia. Type B spread mostly in Wuhan, China and Type C spread mostly in Europe. 

The virus spread in the second wave has been identified as B.1.42. Secretary to the Ministry of Health Major General Sanjiva Munasinghe said to media that the virus is different from the Kandakadu cluster which comprised of other variants of the type B virus. The SARS-CoV2  B.1.42 virus is spreading faster than the previous types, the official said. 

Health Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi said to media that the research commissioned by the Ministry of Health has identified that the virus spread throughout the country is different from the previous type. However, the virus found in various parts of the island is the same. 

Update: Dr. Chandima Jeewandara of the research team said to media that 16 samples from various geographical areas were tested and 13 of them were accurately sequenced. "Accordingly, it was observed that the type of virus traced was the same. Various types of SARS-Cov2 viruses were discovered in Sri Lanka since March up to now. The presently spreading virus is similar to the type of virus identified in Denmark and Sweden. This is the first time it was recorded in Sri Lanka. The viral load is high and spreads fast. However, we have no knowledge about the death rate of the infection", Dr. Jeewandara said.  

23,000 cancer patients diagnosed in Sri Lanka annually; one-third of them preventable

launch of Aayu platform for cancer prevention
Dr. Janaki Vidanapathirana, Acting Director, National Cancer Control Programme points out that around 23,000 people are diagnosed with cancer every year in Sri Lanka. "I am requesting the media, who hold immense power, curate content that will decrease the taboo, encourage early detection and drive people to access services to help save lives,” she asked recently at a ceremony held to launch a web platform for awareness on cancer prevention called Aayu.plus

Issuing a press release to mark the launch of the web platform, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) said, "It is estimated by the World Health Organization (WHO) that one-third of cancers can be prevented through healthy lifestyle choices. Yet cervical and breast cancer are a global public health issue that is currently claiming millions of innocent lives, with more than two-thirds of these cases occurring in the developing countries where the health sector lacks the capacity and infrastructure to combat the threat effectively. Breast cancer and cervical cancer are the most common types of cancer among women in Sri Lanka."

Owing to the tremendous impact of modifiable factors on cancer risk, it has been estimated that at least one-third of all cancers are preventable, the Aayu platform says. Cancer prevention is characterized as a reduction in cancer mortality by reducing the occurrence of cancer. This includes reducing exposure to modifiable risk factors, along with population-based screening, to enable early detection of pre-cancer lesions.

Following factors have been identified in Sri Lanka as modifiable risk factors for cancers. 

  • Tobacco use
  • Physical inactivity
  • Overweight and Obesity
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Unhealthy diet
  • Unprotected sex for certain types of cancers
  • Chewing of arecanut


Sri Lanka in a PCR crisis; Lateral Flow Antigen Test proposed


Sri Lanka's Government Medical Officers' Association (GMOA) Editor Haritha Aluthge said that there are around 20,000 PCR samples in the laboratories.

As a result of the situation, the reports are delayed up to one week and during that period, some of the infected persons associate many others.

Meanwhile, a PCR machine in Colombo East Base Hospital in Mulleriyawa hospital broke down and a Chinese technician was brought to Sri Lanka to repair it. The technician had PCR tests before leaving China, after arriving in Sri Lanka and works under strict quarantine regulations wearing protective equipment. 

The laboratory of Colombo East hospital was declared open in June 2020 with the assistance of the Asian Development Bank. The new lab had a capacity of performing 500 tests for 12 hours.

Dr. Mahen Kotalawala, Clinical Microbiologist and Infection Prevention Professional who works in Kandy hospital says that Sri Lanka must start Lateral Flow Antigen Test in which the protein antibodies in the infected person’s blood is tested. It is a low-cost field test that brings results faster, the specialist highlighted. 

"We need about 5,000-6,000 PCR tests carried out daily. It is very costly, and the tests delay. The person associates others during the period between the PCR is tested, and the report is received. If the person is positive, he or she might have spread the virus to many others. Earlier, we received reports within 24 hours. Public Health Inspectors and Army took necessary actions fast. When the number of cases is high, there are practical issues," Dr. Mahen Kotalawala said in an interview with Mawbima newspaper. 

(Photo credit to Time


Sri Lanka exceeds 10,000 mark in terms of COVID-19 cases

Sri Lanka yesterday surpassed 10,000 in terms of the number of COVID-19 cases diagnosed in the country so far.

Meanwhile, 633 COVID-19 cases were diagnosed in Sri Lanka on 30th October 2020. The majority of them belonged to the Peliyagoda cluster. Brandix and Peliyagoda fish market clusters increased to more than 6,500.  

The total number of COVID-19 cases were at 10,424 by the end of the day. 

Director of the Epidemiology Unit, Dr. Sudath Samaraweera said that the spread of the virus was very high.

Health sources say that thousands of more reports of the PCR tests are to be received. There is a delay in receiving reports.

Friday, October 30, 2020

Army Commander of Sri Lanka orders people held in hotels for quarantine after 14 days sent home

Army Commander of Sri Lanka Lt. Gen. Shavendra de Silva said that the persons who are in  quarantine in star class hotels for more than two weeks after returning from foreign countries will be sent for home quarantine.

Some of these persons including Minister Vidura Wickramanayaka's sister Thushara Wickramanayaka, a doctor from UK, complained publicity via social media that they are kept in quarantine after 14 days as a business.

Wickramanayaka and others said that they had not been released from hotels they are quarantined since there sample for the final PCR test had been lost. 

They were asked to pay for another PCR test and stay in the hotel for few more days at their own expense until the report is received.

They have already paid extra for air tickets, PCR tests and from Rs. 175,000 to 200,000 for hotel quarantine. 

They accused that their is a quarantine business in Sri Lanka.

Thieves rob a house disguised as Public Health Inspectors in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka Police Media Spokesman Deputy Inspector General of Police Ajith Rohana said that a group of thieves who appeared as Public Health Inspectors (PHIs) had robbed a house in Kettapahuwa, Maho in the North Western Province. 

The incident had taken place in the afternoon around 3.30 p.m. The robbers appearing as PHIs gave tablets to the residents of the house saying they would take samples from them for PCR tests.

The residents of the house lost consciousness and woke up the next morning to discover that they had lost gold jewellery.

Police asked people to be vigilant about such incidents. Health authorities said that no medication is given before PCR samples are taken. 

Museum to be built in Dambana for Sri Lanka's Veddah skulls returned from Edinburgh

Prime Minister of Sri Lanka, Mahinda Rajapaksa directed the officials of Central Cultural Fund to fund for a museum for Veddah community to place the artefacts returned by the University of Edinburgh. 

A museum is to be built in Dambana, the home of a section of Sri Lanka's indigenous Veddah community, to exhibit the ancient skulls and other artefacts belonging to the community. 

Nine skulls taken to the United Kingdom during the time of the colonial rule about 200 years ago were recently handed over to Veddah chieftain Uruwarige Wanniya. The skulls and the bones were kept so far in the museum of the University of Edinburgh. 

The hunter-gatherer, forest-dwelling community are now fast modernising and the community's traditional lifestyle is exhibited in Dambana which is a popular tourist attraction.

Rs. 3,400 million was approved for the Central Cultural Fund for the projects in 2021, The Prime Minister's media announced. 

(Photo credit to BBC)

Sri Lanka government issues a circular for employees to work from home

To control the spread of COVID-19, Sri Lanka government issued circular paving the way for the public employees work from home. 

The circular issued by President's Secretary P.B. Jayasundara is especially relevant to the Colombo, Gampaha and Kalutara districts of Western Province which are under travel restrictions. The circular is relevant to the other risk areas also that are identified by the Director-General of Health Services.

The public offices in other areas will function normally but with strict health precautions. 

The Department Head is given powers to identify and decide the work that can be delivered from home. The files and other equipment can be handed over to the employees and the officials who work from home are on duty from 8.30 a.m. to 4.15 p.m. The accounting authorities of the offices are responsible to provide facilities to the public employees for working online. 

The Department Head has powers to attach the rest of the officials to the other institutions which need human resources. The employees under quarantine can also be asked to work from home. However, workers with even mild symptoms of COVID-19 must be allowed to rest. 

The circular demands the authorities to provide online platforms for the public to obtain direct services. 



Thursday, October 29, 2020

Panic buying, escaping in Western Province of Sri Lanka ahead of weekend curfew

Kottawa interchange of Southern Expressway

Panic buying reported in most parts of the Western Province of Sri Lanka which are not under curfew, ahead of the long weekend curfew imposed since midnight today. Friday 30th October 2020 is a full moon day and a public, bank and mercantile holiday in Sri Lanka.

Large numbers of people gathered in crowded shops including liquor shops with minimal health measures to buy commodities in fear of extension of curfew beyond the weekend. 

Meanwhile, vehicles belonged to the people who were fleeing out of Colombo district and the Western Province on expressways queued about one kilometre long from Kottawa interchange. Police warned people escaping the curfew but the majority of them had reasons because they temporarily lived in the Western Province for work.

Similar queues of exiting vehicles were reported from Pinnaduwa interchange in Galle in the Southern Province also. The Province is not under curfew.

The curfew that will be imposed since midnight today, 29th October 2020, in the Western Province will be lifted at 5 a.m. on Monday. However, the government announced the curfew would not be lifted in police areas which are already under quarantine curfew. 

20th amendment of Constitution of Sri Lanka valid since today

20th  amendment to the constitution of Sri Lanka became valid since today, 29th October 2020. 

Under Sri Lanka's law, a constitutional amendment is valid since the day the Speaker sign it and the Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abewardane signed the relevant document today. 

20th amendment to the constitution was passed on 22nd October with two-third majority in the parliament. 

Parliamentary reporter of Sunday Times infected COVID-19 while working from home

Sri Lanka's leading Sunday newspaper Sunday Times announced that the parliamentary reporter of the newspaper had been infected COVID-19 while working from home. 

The newspaper office has been disinfected and the publishing company said that the printing and distribution department connects with the editorial only via online.

The Sunday Times is published by Wijaya Newspapers Ltd. which publishes Daily Mirror, Lankadeepa daily newspapers and several other periodicals.

Sri Lankan Brigadier threatens to kill a doctor; GMOA withdraws doctors from service

 

Sri Lanka Government Medical Officers' Association (GMOA) complained to the Minister of Health Pavithra Wanniarachchi and Army Commander Shavendra Silva regarding the death threat against the head of Sampathnuwara District Hospital by a senior Army officer.

According to the letter dated 28 October 2020, sent to the Minister of Health, Brigadier K.K.S. Parakum of Mechanized Infantry Regiment had visited Sampathnuwara District Hospital in Welioya and abused the Head of the Institution and other medical officers using racist and derogatory words. The words include anti-Tamil racist language that called the doctors terrorists. 

As a trade union action, GMOA has withdrawn the doctors from the service in Sampathnuwara District Hospital. 

Full text of the letter: 

Government Medical Officers Association
28.10.2020

Hom. Pavithra Wanniarchchi,
Minister of Health,
Ministry of Health,
Colombo.

Dear Madam

Unacceptable behaviour of Brigadier K. K. S. Parakum
It is sad to inform you that Brigadier K. K. S. Parakum had visited district hospital Sampathnuwara and abused head of the institution and other medical officers පර දෙමළා, ප්‍රභාකරන්, ත්‍රස්තවාදීන්, තොපි මරණවා. මේක මගේ ඒ්රියා එක [ Bloody Tamil, Prabhakaran, Terrorists, I will kill you all, This is my area – SLB]

We remind that the era during the war all our doctors treated the military with dignity to ensure the moral and medical backup to armed forces and police to combat terrorism in our motherland.

However the behaviour of brigadier K. K. S. Parakum has failed to the expected standards of disciplinary of our armed forces and fail to ensure the dignity of doctors and fellow citizens.

Here we attached our communication to Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva on 26. 10. 2020 for necessary action.

Since the situation at DH Sampathnuwara is not rectified we are compelled to withdraw the services at DH Sampathnuwara as trade union measures considering the safety of our members.

We request your good offices’ to take necessary measures to ensure safe working conditions of this institution for the best interest of the patients.

Thank you,
Yours faithfully
Dr Senal Fernando
Secretary

Wimal Weerawansa says he has fullest trust on the government's patriotism

Addressing a press conference held in Colombo today, National Freedom Front (NPP) leader Wimal Weerawansa accused opposition Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) and People's Liberation Front (JVP) of attempting to mislead people regarding the visit of US State Secretary Mike Pompeo. 

Weerawansa said that Pompeo had told to the press that signing or not signing of Millenium Challenge Corporation (MCC) was Sri Lanka's choice and that had made the opposition disillusioned. 

The NPP leader said he had the fullest trust on President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and the government regarding safeguarding the national interests before any kind of international pressure.

Weerawansa said that he had not been panic with the visit of US State Secretary because the issue had been discussed in the cabinet and the President had assured MCC would not be signed. Even the Minister of Foreign Affairs Dinesh Gunawardane had discussed the talking points of his speech with the cabinet. 

Weerawansa further assured that his party would not be a partner of a government coalition that signs any adverse agreement like MCC, SOFA or ACSA.  

Pharmacies banned to sell two drugs without prescriptions from specialist doctors

Sri Lanka National Drug Control Board has informed all the pharmacies not to sell two drugs with the written prescriptions of specialist doctors. 

The drugs are Chloroquine and Hydroxy Cloroquine. 

Some people believe these two drugs will help to be safe from COVID-19. National Drug Control Board rejects the claim

Sri Lanka exceeds number of hospital beds for COVID-19 patients; increasing the capacity

Batticaloa Campus
Sri Lanka exceeded the first-stage capacity of hospital beds for COVID-19 patients. 

The country has a capacity for 5,000 COVID-19 patients and the number of patients exceeded 5,000 yesterday. 

The health authorities are increasing the capacity of the hospitals under the second stage to handle more cases. 

For example, the government announced it had converted the non-functioning Batticaloa Campus premises in Valachchanai into a hospital for COVID-19 with facilities for 1,200 patients. 

Meanwhile, the cabinet co-spokesman Minister Ramesh Pathirana, a doctor by profession, said that the patients with less complications would be sent to selected quarantine centres. He said that 75 to 80 per cent of the COVID-19 patients had not shown symptoms. 


Wednesday, October 28, 2020

COVID-19 spread from Minuwangoa cluster has declned.

Acting Deputy Director General of Health Services Dr. Hemantha Herath said that the COVID-19 spread in the country from Minuwangoa cluster has declined. 

He said that the situation would be controlled in the coming few days. 

However, it will take a long time to come back to normalcy, he said.

He expected the cases found in Gampaha district would gradually decline.


Defense, a top priority in bilateral talks between Sri Lanka and US

US-Sri Lanka bilateral talks
Both US State Secretary and Sri Lankan President indicated that defence was on top of the points discussed in the bilateral talks between the two states. 

“We had a wide-ranging discussion on our security cooperation which helps keep some of the worlds vital sea lanes open,” the US State Secretary Mike Pompeo said adding “a strong and powerful Sri Lanka is a strategic partner for the United States on the world stage and it can be a beacon for an open Indo-Pacific”.

Later he tweeted, "My meetings with President @GotabayaR and Foreign Minister Gunawardena reaffirmed Sri Lanka’s pivotal role as an #IndoPacific partner. Together, we’re committed to advancing our shared interests in the region, including security, stability, and prosperity."

Sri Lanka President Gotabaya Rajapaksa confirmed in a tweet that the US Defense Secretary Mike Pompeo had discussed defence corporation while the opposition and the sections in the government itself are protesting signing SOFA, ACSA and MCC agreements with US.

The President's tweet is as follows: " Engaged in a forward looking & a cordial interaction with @SecPompeo this morning. Appreciate @SecPompeo ’s stance on the need 2 strengthen the bilateral relationship & support 4 defence cooperation. Value @SecPompeo ’s views on assistance 4 investment & our development needs."

With a scathing attack at China, Pompeo went as far as to brand the Chinese Communist Party a predator in his statement to media after the talks with his Sri Lankan counterpart, Minister of Foreign Affairs Dinesh Gunawardane.  


Entire Western Province of Sri Lanka to come under curfew

Sri Lanka government has imposed quarantine curfew to entire Western Province since midnight 29th October until 5 a.m. of 2nd November, Government Information Department announced. 

The curfew already imposed in some police areas is due to continue beyond November 2nd. 

Sri Lanka's JVP demands government to reveal the proposals, agreements and rejections arrived at the discussions with Pompeo

Sri Lanka's leftist People's Liberation Front (JVP) leader Anura Kumara Disanayaka demanded the government to reveal the proposals, agreements and rejections arrived at the discussions between the US State Secretary Mike Pompeo, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Minister of Foreign Affairs Dinesh Gunawardane. 

Addressing a press conference held in the party headquarters, JVP charged the US was trying to include Sri Lanka in its military strategy of the group of four countries, US, India, Japan and Australia. Meanwhile, the party criticized China also for pushing Sri Lanka into a debt trap through wasteful mega development projects. 

Criticizing the government leaders whose family members are US citizens, the JVP leader demanded the government not to let Sri Lanka become a football of the power games of international superpowers.

JVP criticized both former government led by the United National Party and the present government for proceeding with SOFA, ACSA and MCC agreements with the US. The JVP leader stated that these agreements are related to national security, property and the future. 

Speaking about the COVID-19 crisis, JVP criticized the government's inaction before the second wave of the coronavirus attack. Anura Kumara Disayanaka pointed out that the government had removed key health officials and kept positions like Director-General of Health for a long time vacant until the second wave. He said that the government did not make ready the health infrastructure for a possible second wave of COVID-19.

JVP urged the government to be more responsible about the crisis, to increase the number of PCR tests, to minimize the time taken for the reports, to provide equipment and to protect the vulnerable health and other officials. 

He urged the government to increase the capacity of the health sector to fight the pandemic and to help the affected people using the huge COVID-19 fund, raised recently if it had taken an informed decision not to lock down the country as indicated by the President. 

Sri Lanka major opposition urges government to reveal the motive behind US State Secretary's visit

Hesha Vithanage
Sri Lanka's major opposition Samagi Jana Balavegaya (SJB) demanded the government to reveal the motive behind the official tour of US State Secretary Mike Pompeo. 

Addressing a press conference held in the Office of the Opposition Leader, SJB MP Hesha Vithanage said that the other countries like India were aware of the motive of the US official's visit. However, Sri Lankans are unaware of the motive behind this visit. 

MP Vithanage said the statement by Minister of Sports Namal Rajapaksa that hinted it was a routine visit was contradicted by pro-government Buddhist monks like Baddegama Samitha Thero, Muruththettuwe Ananda Thero and Elle Gunawansa Thero.    

Speaking further about the COVID-19 issue, MP Vithanage criticized the government's attitude of sidelining the Opposition Leader and the opposition in the fight against coronavirus and offered to assist the government. 

He accused that the rulers were not concerned about the problems of the people affected by COVID-19 because they had gained power and there is no election close by. 

More than 25% random PCR tests in North Colombo positive

Colombo Chief Medical Officer of Health Ruwan Wijayamuni said to Sinhala daily Lankadeepa that 98 out of 348 random tests of PCR in Colombo city are positive. 

The patients were identified from northern city areas like Mahawatta, Grandpass, Modara and Mattakkuliya. 

He said that reports of about 300 more random tests are to be received.

937 of 5,267 PCR tests of randomly selected persons in Colombo proved positive on 26th October also.   


Sharp increase in salt price in Sri Lanka

Table salt price in Sri Lanka has sharply risen, in addition to the other commodities, the consumers complain.

Market sources say that the price of a 50kg bag crystal salt has gone up from Rs. 675 to Rs. 950.

Ministry of Fisheries sources says that the price has gone up due to the increased use of salt for preserving fish. The price of fish has dropped sharply since the consumers are afraid to eat fish due to the spread of COVID-19 in the country's main fish market, Peliyagoda and several fisheries harbours. 

However, health officials advise the consumers that well-cooked fish cannot spread COVID-19. 

A large number of fish vendors and fishermen have lost livelihood due to the prevailing situation. 

Sri Lanka's salt industry is hit by rains caused by climate change and shortage of labour, industry sources say. The island imports salt and the main supplier is China. 

US State Secretary meets Sri Lanka President today

Mike Pompeo at Katunayaka airport
US State Secretary Mike Pompeo who arrived in Sri Lanka yesterday will hold bilateral discussions with Sri Lanka President Gotabhaya Rajapaksa this morning. The meeting will be held in the President's House in Colombo. 

He will discuss with the Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardane also. The duo is expected to hold a press conference later. The visit of the US State Secretary takes place on an invitation of the Sri Lankan Minister of Foreign Affairs, the government says. The aim of the tour is for strengthening the multiple bilateral relations. 

The cabinet spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella said at the cabinet press briefing that the government will not sign SOFA and ACSA agreements with the US. 

Media reported President Gotabaya Rajapaksa had told to the cabinet that US State Secretary would not discuss the Millenium Challenge Corporation (MCC) agreement. 

(Photo: US state Secretary Mike Pompeo at Katunayaka airport)

More areas locked down, more COVID-19 deaths and more cases diagnosed in Sri Lanka

Homagama, Moratuwa, Panadura North and Panadura South have been included anew to the police areas of Sri Lanka which are under quarantine curfew. Accordingly, over 60 police areas are under quarantine curfew now. 

The government isolated Hatton town also yesterday due to spread of COVID-19. 

The number of COVID-19 patients diagnosed yesterday was 457 and three deaths occurred during the day. 

Meanwhile, the media reported yesterday the President had told at the cabinet meeting that the country would not be shut down due to COVID-19 spread. Instead, travel restrictions would be imposed in areas the disease is spread more. 

Meanwhile, the people in locked down and isolated areas lament about the loss of livelihoods while the people in other areas complain about paralysed transport services.  

The government says the shops would be open for two days in locked-down areas for people to buy commodities. The public employees in those areas are considered working while the government says that the agreement with the private sector to pay salaries of the workers has been extended by the government until December. 

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Sri Lanka Association of Information Technology Professionals urge government to reject MCC in talks with Pompeo


Sri Lanka Association of Information Technology Professionals (AITP), issuing a press release urged the government to reject the Millenium Challenge Corporation (MCC) pushed forward by the US for Sri Lanka to accept during the talks with the US State Secretary Mike Pompeo. 

AITP said that the report of the committee led by Dr. Lalithasiri Gunaruwan who was appointed to study the MCC had recommended not to sign the agreement. 

AITP highlighted that the recommendation of the committee had been endorsed by people through the landslide victory offered to the government at the election held following the issue of the report.  

JVP protests against the US influence Sri Lanka


Sri Lanka's leftist People's Liberation Front (JVP) protested before the US Embassy in Colombo against the US influence on the independence and sovereignty of Sri Lanka. 

Handing over a letter to the US Ambassador Alaina B. Teplitz, JVP said that they would not trust that the visit of US State Secretary Mike Pompeo would be a commitment for a strong, free and independent Sri Lanka.   

JVP accused the US that they were trying to take Sri Lanka into their control pushing the country into a costly regional power crisis. 

They alleged that the US was pressurizing Sri Lanka to sign a number of military and trade agreements in a non-transparent manner while the present government had failed to safeguard the independence and the non-alignment foreign policy.  

On October 22, US Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Dean Thompson urged Sri Lanka “to make difficult but necessary decisions” on its foreign relations. JVP said that this statement was not mere hypocrisy but a threat to the country's economy, independence and sovereignty. 

JVP questioned the choices encouraged by the US in terms of Sri Lanka, according to Dean Thompson's statement. 

Also read: 

Three COVID-19 deaths in a single day in Sri Lanka

Three COVID-19 deaths were reported today so far in Sri Lanka. 

A 41-year-old male patient died in National Institute of Infectious Diseases, aka IDH. 

Two more patients died in the National Hospital in Colombo.

One of the deceased is a 19-year-old young man with chronic disability.

The other deceased is an elderly woman who had been hospitalised for an ailment on her leg.  

China blames US using 'we' to identify her and Sri Lanka

china-US-relations over Sri Lanka
Further deepening the US-China power crisis at the cost of the independence of strategically located island nation Sri Lanka, the Embassy of China in Sri Lanka issued a highly controversial statement today ahead of US State Secretary Mike Pompeo's visit. 

In the letter full of flattery and false compliments to Sri Lanka, China apparently spoke on behalf of Sri Lanka too stating "We have enough wisdom to handle relations with each other and do not need a third party to dictate" raising concerns about China's authority to say so. 

China mentioned the breach of diplomatic protocols by US Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Dean Thompson who urged on October 22 Sri Lanka “to make difficult but necessary decisions” on its foreign relations.

The letter further went deep even too childish arguments on the way Chinese and US officials followed quarantine measures during their visits to Sri Lanka.

The complete statement issued by the Chinese Embassy in Sri Lanka:

“On 22nd October, US Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Dean Thompson openly instigated and interfered in China-Sri Lanka relations during a press briefing on Secretary Pompeo’s upcoming visit, and even urged Sri Lanka “to make difficult but necessary decisions” on its foreign relations, which is a blatant violation of diplomatic protocols. On the next day, the Spokesperson of Chinese Foreign Ministry has responded strongly and stressed that the remarks of the US official were filled with Cold War mentality and hegemonistic mindset doomed to fail, which fully exposed the consistent US practice of arbitrarily interfering in other countries’ domestic and foreign policies and forcing small and medium-sized countries to choose sides.

On local and international media inquiries, the Embassy further solemnly states as follows:

I. The people of China and Sri Lanka have a history of friendly exchanges for nearly two thousand years. We have enough wisdom to handle relations with each other and do not need a third party to dictate. Even before the two countries established diplomatic relations with each other in the 1950s, we broke through the US blockade and sanctions, and signed the historical Rubber-Rice Pact. Today in the 21st century, it is more impossible for the two countries to succumb to the coercion of any external forces. As a sincere friend of the Sri Lankan people, China is happy to see the island developing healthy relations with other countries. However, we are firmly opposed to the United States taking the opportunity of the State Secretary’s visit to sow and interfere in China-Sri Lanka relations, and to coerce and bully Sri Lanka. It is hoped that the United States will face up to the just calls of the international community, face up to the popular base of China-Sri Lanka relations, face up to the real needs of the Sri Lankan people, “make difficult but necessary decisions,” and correct the ugly practices of arbitrarily interfering in other countries’ domestic and foreign affairs.

II. At the same time, we also sincerely advise the United States that true friends should put themselves in the other side’s shoes. Currently, Sri Lanka is facing the most severe challenge since the outbreak of COVID-19, and the local health system can no longer bear any imported risks. The United States has sent a large delegation and batches of advance team into Sri Lanka when its own confirmed cases reached 8.8 million and the death toll surpassed 230 thousand, and made various requests for the visit and even for an emergent road construction. The general public are constantly questioning: Does this approach truly prove your respect to the host country? Is it helpful to local epidemic prevention and control? Is it in the interests of the Sri Lankan people?

III. Recently, a high-level Chinese delegation also visited Sri Lanka, bringing much needed assistance and support to Sri Lanka’s pandemic fighting and economic reviving. Furthermore, although the pandemic has already been effectively controlled in China, in order to minimize risks and respect the host country, the Chinese delegation still minimized its activities and personnel as much as possible, strictly abide by Sri Lanka’s epidemic prevention guidelines, and resolutely avoided any trouble to the host country. We are willing to share these practices with the United States, hoping to provide some reference for Mr. State Secretary’s visit and its handling of relations with small and medium-sized countries.”


US Bar Association to open an office in Sri Lanka - Wimal Weerawansa

Wimal Weerawansa
Senior Minister and ruling coalition partner of Sri Lanka government, Wimal Weerawans said that the US Bar Association was planning to open an office in Colombo.

In a scathing attack against the visit of US State Secretary Mike Pompeo, Weerawansa stated that the move to open an office of US Bar Association in Colombo was for appearing for the US criminals like rapists who would roam freely after the ACSA and SOFA agreements are signed by Sri Lanka. He said that these agreements would enable US to use the ports and airports of Sri Lanka while US officials would be immune from the law of Sri Lanka.    

He added that the move to open the office of the US Bar Association in Colombo had been delayed due to the protest of Bar Association of Sri Lanka. 

17% PCR tests of randomly selected persons in Colombo proven positive


Colombo Chief Medical Officer of Health Ruwan Wijayamuni said that 937 of 5,267 PCR tests of randomly selected persons in Colombo proved positive, reported The Lankadeepa Sinhala daily. 

The report further said the doctor had told that a part of these COVID-19 cases is connected to Brandix and Peliyagoda fish market clusters. 

The percentage is over 17%. 

(Photo credit: socialnews.xyz)

US General Secretary Mike Pompeo to arrive in Sri Lanka today

US General Secretary Mike Pompeo will arrive in Sri Lanka for a two-day official visit.

He will hold bilateral discussions with President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa.

The visit to Sri Lanka is a part of the US top official's diplomatic tour in South and South-Eastern Asia. He is visiting India, Sri Lanka, Maldives and Indonesia. 

Pompeo will leave Sri Lanka tomorrow. The government stated that his entourage including security, media and other officials were following strict quarantine regulations. 

COVID-19 spread in Sri Lanka's main children's hospital

Seven children and three mothers staying with them in Lady Ridgeway Children's Hospital in Sri Lanka are COVID-19 infected, the Director of the hospital Dr. G. Wijesuriya said. 

Lady Ridgway Hospital situated in Borella in the Colombo city is the main children's hospital in Sri Lanka and children in critical conditions from the areas island-wide are treated there. 

The Director said that the disease had spread to the hospital from the COVID-19 infected persons of Peliyagoda fish market. 

Monday, October 26, 2020

Sri Lanka decides to home quarantine COVID-19 patients' associates

Shavendra Silva

Army Commander of Sri Lanka Shavendra Silva said that the associates of COVID-19 patients will be home quarantined since today. 

So far, the government quarantined the associates of COVID-19 persons in military-run quarantine centres. 

By now, the country has reached 90% of the capacity in hospitals for COVID-19 patients. 

Meanwhile, Government Medical Officers' Association proposed the government to treat the patients with less complications at home while admitting only the patients with complications into hospitals.

All COVID-19 patients inter conmected; no community spread in Sri Lanka

COVID-19 and Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka's chief epidemiologist Dr. Sudath Samaraweera  said that all the COVID-19 patients are connected to each other in some way and therefore, still there is no social spread in the country.

He pointed out that when there is a social spread, the career of virus related to individual patients cannot be traced.

Albino python discovered in Sri Lanka

Albino python discovered in Sri Lanka

Wildlife Conservation Department of Sri Lanka reported the discovery of a rare albino python from a farm in Ritigala in
the North Central Province. 

The wildlife officials of Ritigala Beat Wildlife Office took the reptile into their safe custody with the hope of releasing it into a suitable wildlife park.

The female albino is about 2 meters and 60 centimeters and about 10 to 12 years old.

This is believed the first albino python recorded in Sri Lanka.  

(Photos from Social Media)


Sri Lanka government to further strengthen military

G.L. Peiris

Sri Lanka Minister of  Education and the Chairman of ruling Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) Prof. G.L. Peiris said that the government hoped to make a complete transformation of the defense sector after the report of the Presidential Commission that investigated the Easter Sunday attack would be received. 

Addressing a press conference held in the SLPP headquarters today, the Minister stated that the report would be based for bringing the persons who are responsible for the disaster before law and also to prevent the possibility of recurrence of such terrorist attacks in future. 

The government would focus on the necessary legal reforms as well as strengthening the military administration further, the Minister stated.  

Over 250 people died and 500 people were injured in the series of attacks launched by extremists led by Zahran Hashim targeting the Christian churches of Sri Lanka on 21 April, 2019.  

Life in Galle Face Sri Lanka -Xinhua

Xinhua News Agency published five photos depicting scenes at Galle Face with the title 'People's daily life in Colombo, Sri Lanka.&...