An Echelon Media Company
Wednesday December 6th, 2023

Sri Lanka closes hospital wards over Coronavirus, 103 new Covid-19 cases, more in factories

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka has closed three hospital wards and a theatre at the National Hospital in the capital Colombo, an official said as Coronavirus cases were confirmed, while reports said a fishery harbor was shut and two more factories were being probed after suspected cases were found.

Sri Lanka’s Army Chief Shavendra Silva asked anyone who had come into contact with Brandix staff after September 23 to come forward.

Gampaha District Secretary Sunil Jayalath said authorities were trying to locate 119 workers linked to the Brandix factory in Minuwangoda.

By 2100 hours on October 10, 103 new cases had been confirmed taking the Minuwangoda cluster to 1,186 the state information office said.

Of the new cases two were staff members and 101 were contacts.

Chief Epidemiologist Sudath Samaraweera said concerns had been raised why PCR tests were not done immediately on some contacts.

He said since there is an incubation period of 2 to 10 days, officials will wait for a few days to conduct the test as it may have to be done again and the initial test is likely to be negative.

The testing day will be decided on when the person had first contact with the infected person he said.

Analysts familiar with the practices in Vietnam say a test is done quickly on a fist contacts to find whether someone is positive to decide whether to isolate the next level. It is later repeated for diagnosis.

Two wards and a theatre at the National Hospital was closed after three minor staff tested positive for Covid-19, military spokesman Colonel Vijitha Hettiarachchi said.

Authorities were investigating how they got the disease, he said.

A 27 -year old staff member was also confirmed at Lady Ridgeway Hospital, he said.

Health authorities have still not tracked down the source of the infection at the Brandix factory, raising concerns over a wider presence of the virus. Up to the morning of October 10, all confirmed cases had some connection to the factory, General Silva had told the media.

In the Katunayake Free Trade Zone 11 workers of Next Manufacturing were found, an Industries Ministry official said.

Cases were also found in a glove factory and another factory after testing started, and more investigations were underway, he said.

Random are also being done in Kandy, and after the weekend testing will start in Wathupitiwala industrial zone, he said.

General Silva had said cases discovered so far had had some links to the Minuwangoda cluster, though in the case of third level contacts, they may not be themselves aware of the exact link.

A management faculty student at the University of Sri Jayewardenepura had also tested positive for Covid-19.

Vice Chancellor Sudantha Liyanage told reporters that she had been boarded at a nearby house and three of her friends had been directed to take PCR tests and 53 other contacts had been identified.

In the Panadura Teaching Hospital the daughter of an ICU nurse had contracted Coronavirus.

Ingrain Godakanda, a hospital administrative officer said safety measures were being taken.

The Dikkowita Fishery Harbour was also closed after a fisherman in a multi-day boat fell sick and was confirmed with Coronavirus after being admitted to hospital, local television reported.

Sri Lanka is also holding a grade 05 scholarship exam on Sunday with Advanced Level exams being scheduled for later.

Sri Lanka Commissioner General of Exams Sanath Pujitha said arrangements have been made for students in quarantine in several locations including Jaffna and Kandakadu to take the exams.

Five students at the Infectious Diseases Hospital in Colombo would also take the exam, he said. (Colombo/Oct10/2020 – Update III)

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Sri Lanka rupee closes stronger at 327.40/90 to the US dollar

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s rupee closed at 327.40/90 to the US dollar on Tuesday, from 328.10/30 the previous day, dealers said.

Bond yields were stable.

A bond maturing on 01.06.2025 closed at 13.60/70 percent from 13.70/14.00 percent.

A bond maturing on 01.08.2026 closed at 13.90/14.00 percent from 13.90/14.10 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.01.2027 closed at 14.00/15 percent from 14.00/14.10 percent.

A bond maturing on 01.07.2028 closed at 14.10/20 percent from 14.20/35 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.05.2030 closed at 14.20/35 percent, from 14.25/45 percent.

A bond maturing on 01.07.2032 closed at 14.10/35 percent, from 14.05/40 percent. (Colombo/Dec5/2023)

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Sri Lanka stocks close down as investor sentiment dips

ECONOMYNEXT – The Colombo Stock Exchange closed down on Tuesday, CSE data showed.

The All Share Price Index was down 0.40 percent, or 43.50 points, at 10,700.09.

The S&P SL20 index was up 0.43 percent, or 13.32 points, at 3,054.41.

Turnover was at 711 million. The capital goods sector contributed 172 million, the food, beverage and tobacco sector contributed 140 million, and banks 113 million of this.

Top positive contributors to the ASPI in the day were John Keells Holdings Plc (up at 193.00), Richard Pieris And Company Plc (up at 19.80), and Nation Lanka Finance Plc, (up at 0.40).

Negative contributors were Commercial Bank of Ceylon Plc (down at 89.70), Sampath Bank Plc (down at 71.00), and Central Finance Company Plc, (down at 106.00). (Colombo/Dec5/2023).

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Sri Lanka plans to reduce number of school grades from 13 to 12

ECONOMYNEXT – The Ministry of Education proposes to reduce the number of school grades from 13 to 12, according to a government information department statement.

“Every child will be given the opportunity to finish school in 17 years through the proposed new education reforms,” education officials were quoted as saying after a discussion on budget allocations.

Under the proposed system, pre-school education will be at the age of 4 years, the primary section between grades 1-5, junior section between grades 6-8, and senior section between grades 9-12.

The General Certificate of Education Ordinary Level Exam (GCE O/L) is proposed to be conducted in grade 10, and the Advanced Level Examination in grade 12.

It has also been decided to reduce the number of mandatory subjects at the GCE O/L Exam from 9 to 7.

Three new subjects, information and communication technology (ICT), technical and professional skills, and religion and values will be made mandatory and included in those 7 subjects. (Colombo/Dec5/2023)

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