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Tuesday September 26th, 2023

Sri Lanka doctors say Covid-19 booster can slash hospitalization by 90-pct

ECONOMYNEXT – A third booster dose slashes Coronavirus hospitalizations by 90 percent, and two doses blocks hospitalization up to 50 percent, health experts who are urging the public to take freely offered vaccines said.

Though the public showed a great interest in taking the first two doses of the Coronavirus, the public was showing less enthusiasm in taking the third dose. It could be due to misinformation and lack of knowledge.

The third dose was especially valuable for the population over 65 years.

Though Sri Lanka’s hospitalization and deaths have dropped from earlier highs, doctors are now seeing a trend rate increase.

“As a result of the vaccination we have seen a great decrease of patients,” Ananda Wijewickrama, Senior Consultant Physician at the National Institute of Infectious Diseases said.

“But we observe that it has started increasing in the past few weeks. And we also have identified several patients with the Omicron variant as well.”

With Omicron is more transmissible than the Delta variant, there was a big possibility or another Covid-19 wave with more patients being found, though the severity is low.

The third dose was valuable for Omicron as well.

“It is important to follow health guidelines,” Wijewickrama said. “If we can do that we can minimize the spreading. And the important of booster is the immunity we gain reduces over time.

“It happens with any other vaccines as well. The booster dose is to increase our immunity we gained and even if we get the Omicron, we can avoid death as well as going to severe condition.”

A UK study had showed that three months after taking the second jab the immunity drops to around 70 percent against the Coronavirus and after taking the booster it will go back to around 90 percent, President, Sri Lanka College of Internal Medicine, National Hospital, Harsha Sathischandra said.

“Just after getting the booster dose, the rate of getting infected with the virus reduced by 50 percent and after three-month even, the rate of not getting infected will remain around 30 percent,” Sathischandra said.

“Why stay in danger when we have the alternative of taking the booster.”

Around 10 million people who are eligible for the booster have not taken the booster though Sri Lanka has enough stocks.

Covid-19 is a rapidly changing virus, and the data showed with immunity reducing over time a booster dose is needed.

Whether more doses of the vaccine, such as an annual one is needed has not yet been determined.

“There is a question in the community asking whether we will have to have a vaccine for the rest of our lives,” Department of Immunology andMolecular and Molecular Medicine of the University of Sri Jayewardenepura, NeelikaMalavige said.

“Every vaccine we take from infant stage except for the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR), requires more than three doses,”

“We do not expect that a vaccine will be needed continuously in the future. Maybe elderly people may get more doses with the new variants. But there is no data to prove that it will be same for everyone,” Malavige said. (Colombo/ Jan 13/2021)

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Sri Lanka cabinet okays appropriation bill for 2024 budget

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s cabinet of ministers had approved a draft Appropriation Act for 2024, the state information office said.

The Finance Minister’s proposal to gazette the bill and table it in parliament was approved by the cabinet.

Presenting the appropriation bill is the first stage of presenting a budget for 2024,

The appropriation bills set outs the expenditure plans for each ministry.

The budget proposals, made in November is called the second reading of the Appropriation Act. (Colombo/Sept24/2023)

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Sri Lanka’s MEPA to get 28.5 mn rupees from Singaporean AEPW, for beach clean up

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s Marine Environment Protection Authority (MEPA) is to receive 5.7 million rupees a year, for five years, from Singapore-based marine waste solutions provider, Alliance to End Plastic Waste (AEPW), to maintain 8 beach cleaner machines.

The donation is meant to support MEPA clean coastal areas across Sri Lanka, using BeachTech Hydro Sweepy beach cleaner machines, previously donated by the organisation.

The oil industry-founded non-governmental organisation donated the 8 beach cleaners worth about US$180,000 to MEPA in the wake of the 2021 MV X-press Pearl ship disaster.

The machines manufactured by Kässbohrer Geländefahrzeug AG, a German company, are effective at cleaning up plastic nurdles and other types of potentially harmful non-biodegradable waste, minimising human contact with hazardous materials.

As a significant amount of money is spent for the deployment of these machines for beach cleaning activities, the Alliance to End Plastic Waste has agreed to provide the funds for the upkeep of the machines for a period of five years.

With this financial donation, the Maritime Environment Protection Authority will be able to continue using these machines without interruption to clean identified beaches in the future. (Colombo/Sep26/2023)

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Sri Lanka’s SEC makes four new appointments

ECONOMYNEXT – The Securities and Exchange Commission of Sri Lanka (SEC) made four new additions from diverse backgrounds to its leadership.

These appointments are expected to increase the effectiveness of the SEC secretariat in the respective operating areas, the SEC said.

Manuri Weerasinghe, with over 20 years of experience in accounting, financial management, financial reporting and auditing, was appointed Director, Corporate Affairs.

She is a Fellow Member of CA Sri Lanka, member of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants and a member of the Certified Practicing Accountants of Australia.

Her academic credentials include a Master of Business Administration and a BSc (Hons) in Accountancy and Financial Management (Special).

Prior to joining the SEC, she served in several financial management positions in Bermuda and Sweden.

Madura P R Wanigasekara was appointed Chief Digital Officer. He has over 20 years delivering and managing IT solutions, and has held several senior management positions in the public and private sectors.

His academic qualifications include a Master of Science in Information Technology from the University of Colombo and a Bachelor of Information Technology from the Curtin University of Technology.

He is also a member of the Australian Computer Society (ACS).

Sharmila Panditaratne was appointed Assistant Director, Legal and Enforcement.

She is an Attorney-at-Law with over 21 years of experience as a securities market regulator.

She holds a Master of Laws degree from the University of Houston, Texas and has worked at two law firms in the USA prior to joining the SEC.

Riyaz Bary, Deputy Solicitor General at the Attorney General’s Department was appointed a Director on secondment basis. (Colombo/Sep26/2023)

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