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Thursday April 18th, 2024

Sri Lanka central banker Coronavirus positive; operations to continue

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s central bank said it had taken action to maintain uninterrupted operations after a staff member tested positive for Coronavirus, who is now under treatment.

After one employee tested positive on November 19, contacts were traced and tested but there were no positive cases.

It usually takes over 5 days for a contact to develop the disease.

“All other employees tested were found to be negative for the virus,” the central bank said.

“As a precautionary measure, senior management of the Bank, who functioned physically from the Bank premises thus far, also decided to work from home for a period of two weeks commencing 20 November 2020.”

“In this context, the Central Bank wishes to inform the financial markets and the general public that its essential operations will continue as usual.”

Sri Lanka has seen a rapid spread of Coronavirus in the Western Province after the discovery of a case on October 03 in Gampaha which was not followed by border controls.

Sri Lanka dropped institutional quarantine as case number grew, but is still treating all confirmed cases in hospital or secondary centres.

Another cluster which had developed at a fish-market was also not found till around October 20, with authorities insisting that all persons found including those turning up in hospial were part of the first cluster.

Authorities insist that there is no community transmission in Colombo, though random tests are finding positive cases and people are found dead at home in areas near the fish-market and some other areas. Some of the areas are under lockdown.

The full statement is reproduced below

Uninterrupted Operations of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka to Continue

The Central Bank of Sri Lanka wishes to inform the public that one of its employees was tested positive for COVID-19 on 19 November 2020. The employee is now under medical care.

Acting swiftly following this incident, the Central Bank implemented all necessary measures to prevent contagion, including rigorous sanitisation and disinfection of its Head Office premises, tracing close contacts and arranging PCR testing for possible contacts.

All other employees tested were found to be negative for the virus.

As a precautionary measure, senior management of the Bank, who functioned physically from the Bank premises thus far, also decided to work from home for a period of two weeks commencing 20 November 2020.

The Central Bank follows stringent infection prevention guidelines to protect its staff and the visiting public, as the Bank considers ensuring their safety as a top priority.

The well tested Business Continuity Plan (BCP) of the Central Bank, early formation of an Emergency Action Task Force to provide guidance in case of an emergency situation, proactive measures taken by the Bank in consultation with health authorities, continuous and close screening of all employees through regular online surveys, roster based working arrangement of in-person employees and effective work from home arrangements that have been put in place will help the Bank to continue to function without disruption even after this incident.

In this context, the Central Bank wishes to inform the financial markets and the general public that its essential operations will continue as usual.

The general public can continue to reach the Central Bank electronically via cbslgen@cbsl.lk / fcrd@cbsl.lk or via telephone 011-2477966 and the other numbers already announced.

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Sri Lanka’s discussions with bondholders constructive: State finance minister

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lankan authorities continue to engage all debt restructuring negotiations in good faith, within principles of equitable treatment among creditors, and with maximum transparency within the norms of such negotiations, State Minister of Finance, Shehan Semasinghe has said.

“It is standard practice, when a representative group of bondholders is formed, to entertain confidential discussions with such group and its appointed advisors. In the case of Sri Lanka, the Ad Hoc Group of Bondholders represents holders controlling more than 50% of the bonds, which make them a privileged interlocutor for Sri Lanka,” Semasinghe said on X (twitter).

“It is well understood that given the price sensitive nature of the negotiations, and according to market regulations, discussions with the Group and its advisors are to be conducted under non-disclosure agreements. This evidently restricts the ability of the Government to unilaterally report about the substance of the discussions.

“The cleansing statement, which was issued on the 16th of April, at the conclusion of this first round of confidential discussions with members of the Group, aims at informing the Sri Lankan people, market participants and other stakeholders to this debt restructuring exercise, about the progress in negotiations. It provides the highest possible level of transparency within the internationally accepted practices in such circumstances.

“As informed in this statement, confidential discussions held in recent weeks with bondholders’ representatives proved constructive, building on the restructuring proposals presented by both parties. During the talks both sides successfully bridged a number of technical issues enabling important progress to be made. Sri Lanka articulated key remaining concerns that need to be addressed in a satisfactory manner.

“The next steps would entail further consultation with the IMF staff regarding assessments of the compatibility of the latest proposals with program parameters. Following these consultations, we hope to continue discussions with the bondholders with a view to reaching common ground ahead of the IMF board consideration of the second review of Sri Lanka’s EFF program.”

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Sri Lanka rupee weakens at 301.00/302.05 to the US dollar

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s rupee closed at 301.00/302.05 to the US dollar in the spot forex market on Tuesday, from 299.00/10 on Tuesday, dealers said. Bond yields were broadly steady.

A bond maturing on 15.12.2026 closed stable at 11.30/35 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.09.2027 closed at 11.90/12.05 percent up from 11.95/12.00 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.12.2028 closed at 12.10/20 percent down from 12.10/15 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.07.2029 closed at 12.25/40 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.03.2031 closed at 12.30/50 percent. (Colombo/Apr17/2024)

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Sri Lanka Treasury Bill yields down across maturities

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s Treasuries yields were down across maturities at Wednesday’s auction with the 3-month yield moving down 7 basis points to 10.03 percent, data from the state debt office showed.

The debt office sold all 30 billion rupees of 3-month bills offered.

The 6-month yield fell 5 basis points to 10.22 percent, with 25 billion rupees of bills offered and 29.98 billion rupees sold.

The 12-month yield dropped 4 basis points to 10.23 percent with 18.01 billion rupees of bills sold after offering 23 billion rupees. (Colombo/Apr17/2024)

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