An Echelon Media Company
Saturday May 25th, 2024

Sri Lanka bans travellers from Europe as Coronavirus toll climbs

VIRUS TRANSMISSION: Sri Lanka is denying entry to travallers from Italy and several other nations. Italy has been linked to four out of six cases of confirmed cases of Coronavirus confirmed so far.

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka is denying entry to travelers from nine nations in Europe as well as Iran and Korea from March 14 and 15 for two weeks as a Coronavirus toll in the island climbed, authorities shut schools, universities and public events were cancelled.

Sri Lanka reported two new cases Saturday. One was a 44 year old male returnee from Italy who was under quarantine.

The second, also an Italian returnee was found from Nathandandiya, and was not among those quarantined, Director General of Health Anil Jasinghe said.


Sri Lanka Coronavirus toll goes to 09, public gatherings banned

Sri Lanka reported three cases Friday, with two from among quarantined returnees from Italy, and another who had visited Germany recently.

Sri Lanka is now treating seven persons for the Wuhan Coronavirus in hospital, while a Chinese woman who was the first had already been discharged.

Worldwide about 140,000 had contracted the Wuhan Coronavirus and over 5,000 had died so far.

Contact Tracing

Six out of 08 confirmed cases of the Coronavirus in Sri Lanka are connected to Italy.

The first was a tour guide linked to an Italian tour group and the second, a colleague who had lodged with him.

Authorities were also tracking contacts of the two domestically transmitted infections.

Up to Friday 60 contacts of the first tour guide had been traced, the state information office said. Five of them were in hospital were being investigated,health authorities had said.

Officials had also traced 25 contacts of the second guide and eight of them were in hospital being investigated.

By March 14, 103 persons were in hospital under investigation.

About 1000 people were in several quarantine sites.

Authorities were also monitoring 3035 Sri Lankans who had arrived before quarantine began and 1,153 Chinese nationals.

Denied Entry

Sri Lanka’s Civil Aviation Authority said entry to travelers from France, Spain, Germany, Switzerland, Denmark, Netherlands, Sweden and Austria will be denied from midnight March 15 for two weeks. Entry will be denied to travelers from Italy, Korea and Iran from March 14.

“President explaining the current global situation said the virus is rapidly invading many countries in Europe,” the President’s office said.

“The situation is rather serious in some countries such as France and Italy.

“Considering this development, President instructed officials to suspend issuing visa to people from European countries for two weeks

Sri Lanka military will help disinfect public transport the President’s office said.

The epidemic, which started in China was not made public until tens of thousands had already been infected.

Sri Lanka was also getting information from China on how they handled the epidemic.

Children less sick from Coronavirus, as 140,000 cases confirmed.


Children less sick from Coronavirus, as 140,000 cases confirmed

Sri Lanka finds three Coronavirus patients among returnees from Italy, Germany

Sri Lanka to ban travellers from eight European nations from March 15 over Coronavirus

Panic Buying

Mild panic buying was seen at supermarkets in the capital Thursday.

Others were buying up drugs.

“There is currently enough stock to meet three months of normal demand and we will make sure that the supply chain is not disrupted,” Kasturi Chellaraja, Chairperson of the Sri Lanka Chamber of Pharmaceutical Industry (SLCPI) said in a statement.

“We need to be sensible and judicious in our reaction to the current situation and not panic.”

Lines built up at petrol stations in the capital.

“There is no shortage of fuel in the country,” the energy ministry said in a statement. “There is no need to have any fear.

Sri Lanka’s stocks plunged triggering circuit breakers three times over the last week. Stock are down 20 percent so far this year.

Cancelled Events, Online Services

Organizers of Sri Lanka Construction Expo said they were cancelling the event, as people were urged to avoid large gatherings

The Wuhan virus alos bowled out an England cricket tour of Sri Lanka.


#NextGenSL wants parties to limit political rallies

Sri Lanka pharma firms say no shortage of drugs, not to panic buy

Sri Lanka stocks down 20-pct in 2020 as S & P Index hits time low on Coronavirus fears

Corona kills the England Test series

A group of young politicians from all political parties in Sri Lanka has political parties to refrain from holding large rallies and gatherings for the next two weeks over the Wuhan Coronavirus.

Sri Lanka’s opposition leader has asked for the parliament, currently dissolved over pending elections in late April to be recalled.

Authorities asked people to avoid large gatherings and wash hands frequently.

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa had asked officials to look into the possibility of providing state services and schools and universities using the internet.

The government also wanted to see how 150,000 masks made everyday in the country could be domestically would be better distributed.

Sri Lanka slaps price controls on medical supplies, which analysts say could lead to shortages and leave less supplies available to most needed.

In line with World Health Organization guidelines Sri Lanka does not ask everyone to wear masks, but only those who are feeling sick and others like health professionals who come into contact with sick people. (Colombo/Mar14/2020 – Updated with new data Saturday – toll raised to 08)

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Leave a Comment

Leave a Comment

Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Sri Lanka power outages from falling trees worsened by unfilled vacancies: CEB union

HEAVY WINDS: Heavy rains and gusting winds have brought down trees on many location in Sri Lanka.

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s power grid has been hit by 300,000 outages as heavy winds brought down trees, restoring supply has been delayed by unfilled vacancies of breakdown staff, a union statement said.

Despite electricity being declared an essential service, vacancies have not been filled, the CEB Engineers Union said.

“In this already challenging situation, the Acting General Manager of CEB issued a circular on May 21, 2024, abolishing several essential service positions, including the Maintenance Electrical Engineer in the Area Engineer Offices, Construction Units, and Distribution Maintenance Units,” the Union said.

“This decision, made without any scientific basis, significantly reduces our capacity to provide adequate services to the public during this emergency.

“On behalf of all the staff of CEB, we express our deep regret for the inconvenience caused to our valued customers.”

High winds had rains have brought down trees across power lines and transformers, the statement said.

In the past few day over 300,000 power outages have been reported nationwide, with some areas experiencing over 30,000 outages within an hour.

“Our limited technical staff at the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) are making extraordinary efforts to restore power as quickly as possible,” the union said.

“We deeply regret that due to the high volume of calls, there are times when we are unable to respond to all customer inquiries.

“We kindly ask consumers to support our restoration teams and to report any fallen live electrical wires or devices to the Electricity Board immediately without attempting to handle them.

The union said there were not enough workers to restore power quickly when such a large volume of breakdowns happens.

“We want to clarify that the additional groups mentioned by the minister have not yet been received by the CEB,” the union said.

“Despite the government’s designation of electricity as an essential service, neither the government, the minister in charge, nor the CEB board of directors have taken adequate steps to fill the relevant vacancies or retain current employees.

“We believe they should be held directly responsible for the delays in addressing the power outages due to the shortage of staff.”

Continue Reading

Melco’s Nuwa hotel to open in Sri Lanka in mid-2025

ECONOMYNEXT – A Nuwa branded hotel run by Melco Resorts and Entertainment linked to their gaming operation in Colombo will open in mid 2025, its Sri Lanka partner John Keells Holdings said.

The group’s integrated resort is being re-branded as a ‘City of Dreams’, a brand of Melco.

The resort will have a 687-room Cinnamon Life hotel and the Nuwa hotel described as “ultra-high end”.

“The 113-key exclusive hotel, situated on the top five floors of the integrated resort, will be managed by Melco under its ultra high-end luxury-standard hotel brand ‘Nuwa’, which has presence in Macau and the Philippines,” JKH told shareholders in the annual report.

“Melco’s ultra high-end luxury-standard hotel and casino, together with its global brand and footprint, will strongly complement the MICE, entertainment, shopping, dining and leisure offerings in the ‘City of Dreams Sri Lanka’ integrated resort, establishing it as a one-of-a-kind destination in South Asia and the region.”

Melco is investing 125 million dollars in fitting out its casino.

“The collaboration with Melco, including access to the technical, marketing, branding and loyalty programmes, expertise and governance structures, will be a boost for not only the integrated resort of the Group but a strong show of confidence in the tourism potential of the country,” JKH said.

The Cinnamon Life hotel has already started marketing.

Related Sri Lanka’s Cinnamon Life begins marketing, accepts bookings


Continue Reading

Sri Lanka to find investors by ‘competitive system’ after revoking plantations privatizations

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka will revoke the privatization of plantation companies that do not pay government dictated wages, by cancelling land leases and find new investors under a ‘competitive system’, State Minister for Finance Ranjith Siyambalapitiya has said.

Sri Lanka privatized the ownership of 22 plantations companies in the 1990s through long term leases after initially giving only management to private firms.

Management companies that made profits (mostly those with more rubber) were given the firms under a valuation and those that made losses (mostly ones with more tea) were sold on the stock market.

The privatized firms then made annual lease payments and paid taxes when profits were made.

In 2024 the government decreed a wage hike announced a mandated wage after President Ranil Wickremesinghe made the announcement in the presence of several politicians representing plantations workers.

The land leases of privatized plantations, which do not pay the mandated wages would be cancelled, Minister Siyambalapitiya was quoted as saying at a ceremony in Deraniyagala.

The re-expropriated plantations would be given to new investors through “special transparency”

The new ‘privatization’ will be done in a ‘competitive process’ taking into account export orientation, worker welfare, infrastructure, new technology, Minister Siyambalapitiya said.

It is not clear whether paying government-dictated wages was a clause in the privatization agreement.

Then President J R Jayewardene put constitutional guarantee against expropriation as the original nationalization of foreign and domestic owned companies were blamed for Sri Lanka becoming a backward nation after getting independence with indicators ‘only behind Japan’ according to many commentators.

However, in 2011 a series of companies were expropriation without recourse to judicial review, again delivering a blow to the country’s investment framework.

Ironically plantations that were privatized in the 1990s were in the original wave of nationalizations.

Minister Bandula Gunawardana said the cabinet approval had been given to set up a committee to examine wage and cancel the leases of plantations that were unable to pay the dictated wages.


Sri Lanka state interference in plantation wages escalates into land grab threat

From the time the firms were privatized unions and the companies had bargained through collective agreements, striking in some cases as macro-economists printed money and triggered high inflation.

Under President Gotabaya, mandating wages through gazettes began in January 2020, and the wage bargaining process was put aside.

Sri Lanka’s macro-economists advising President Rajapaksa the printed money and triggered a collapse of the rupee from 184 to 370 to the US dollar from 2020 to 2020 in the course of targeting ‘potential output’ which was taught by the International Monetary Fund.

In 2024, the current central bank governor had allowed the exchange rate to appreciate to 300 to the US dollar, amid deflationary policy, recouping some of the lost wages of plantations workers.

The plantations have not given an official increase to account for what macro-economists did to the unit of account of their wages. With salaries under ‘wages boards’ from the 2020 through gazettes, neither employees not workers have engaged in the traditional wage negotiations.

The threat to re-exproriate plantations is coming as the government is trying to privatize several state enterprises, including SriLankan Airlines.

It is not clear now the impending reversal of plantations privatization will affect the prices of bids by investors for upcoming privatizations.

The firms were privatized to stop monthly transfers from the Treasury to pay salaries under state ownership. (Colombo/May25/2024)

Continue Reading