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Wednesday March 29th, 2023

Sri Lanka finds 300 Coronavirus cases as Kandakadu cluster expands, over 1000 to be tested

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka has confirmed 300 new Coronavirus cases on July 10 as authorities traced and tested inmates, staff and contacts of two drug rehabilitation centres and a top official said contacts and visitors the centres are being traced and quarantined quickly.

Authorities had brought back staff on leave and intelligence officers also quarantining visitors who had seen 116 inmates on July 04, Sri Lanka’s military chief Shavendra Silva was quoted as saying by the state information office.

Sri Lanka has got results of 375 tests conducted among 1,150 staff and inmates of two camps run by the Ministry of Justice in Kandakadu and Senapura in Polonnaruwa district, General Silva said and more results were due later on July 10 and July 11.

A quarantine camp in Kandakadu run by the military has been converted into a hospital to treat them.

General Silva said there was a total of 1,150 inmates directed by court to the rehabilitation centre and staff.

By the morning of July 10, tests results of 375 test showed that another 196 had Coronavirus, taking the total found to 253.

“It is likely that more will be found,” General Silva said. “The results are expected later on July 10 and the next morning.”

By 2030 hours 300 cases had been confirmed health ministry data showed.

Sri Lanka had confirmed 2450 Coronavirus cases by 9 July with 296 being confirmed on July 10 according to health ministry data

Staff of the drug rehabilitation centres who had gone on leave had been located and brought back, General Sival said. Their family members have been asked to self-isolate.

General Silva said in May and April no visitors were allowed to come to the centres.

But on July 04, 116 persons were allowed to meet relatives under social distancing.

Intelligence officers now tracing and quarantining them.

“Some have already been quarantined,” General Silva said. “We are taking action to stop the transmission of this virus to the community.”

The cluster was first discovered when an infected person was confirmed in Colombo’s Welikada prison who had been transferred there from a drug rehabilitation camp in Kandakadu.

Staff and inmates of Welikada prison had tested negative to PCR tests. Usually, it takes 14 days or more for contacts to develop the disease. The statement did not say whether they will be isolated and tested again.

After testing those connected to the Kandakadu rehabilitation 57 had been confirmed. Among them was a camp counselor, who had gone on leave to Marawila, Naththandiya.

Her parents and neighbhours have been taken to a quarantine centre.

The statement did not say whether they had been tested. If they test positive a second level of contacts have to be isolated.

Upul Rohana, a public health inspector told local television that political rallies had been held in the area without proper social distancing. (Colombo/July10/2020)

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Sri Lanka stocks recover with banking and finance sectors leading the way

Stock Market. Free public domain CC0 image.

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s stocks edged up on Wednesday recovering from the two-day loss, with banking and finance sectors pushing up the market as buying interest returned for the day, easing selling pressure, brokers said.

The main All Share Price Index (ASPI) closed up 0.42 percent or 39.03 points to 9,272.43.

The market was on a downward trend since last week as investors are adopting a wait-and-see approach until more clarity is given regarding local debt restructuring after the International Monetary Fund approved the extended loan facility.

“Buying interest has renewed and selling pressures are wearing off,” Ranjan Ranatunga of First Capital Holdings said.

Shares at Lanka IOC was gaining during the following week on the news that the Sri Lanka cabinet has granted approval for three oil companies from China, the United States, and Australia in collaboration with Shell Pl to lease 150 fuel stations for each company to operate in the local market.

However, sudden price revision of fuel by the Energy Ministry has hit the shares dragging it down, analysts said.

A crossing was seen by Horana Plantations, with a 51 percent stake change coming into play, the crossing had generated 700 million rupees from the total turnover, Ranatunga said.

The market saw a net foreign inflow of 32.8 million rupees, and the total offshore inflows recorded so far in 2023 are 3.3 billion rupees.

The most liquid index, S&P SL20, closed 0.64 percent or 16.95 points up at 2,673.25.

The market saw a turnover of 1.4 billion on Wednesday, below this year’s daily average of 1.8 billion rupees.

Top gainers were Sampath Bank, Vallibel One and DFCC Bank.(Colombo/March29/2023)

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Rupee closes weaker at 328.50/329.50 against the US dollar, Bond yields steady

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s treasury bond yields were down and the rupee closed weaker in the spot market on Wednesday following an undersubscribed treasury bill auction, dealers said.

A 01.07.2025 bond closed at 31.25/30 percent on Tuesday, steady from 31.20/60 percent on Tuesday.

A 15.09.2027 bond closed at 28.25/29.00 percent, unchanged from Tuesday.

A one-year bill closed at 24.00/30 percent, down from 24.25/25.00 percent.

Sri Lanka rupee closed at 328.50/329.50 rupees against the US dollar weakened, from 325/328 rupees from a day earlier. (Colombo/ March29/2023)

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Sri Lanka tuk tuk, bus fares to be cut on lower fuel prices

CROWDED: An overloaded bus in a suburb of Colombo, leaning sideways with passengers clinging to foot boards.

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s bus fares will be cut from 12.9 percent from midnight onwards, a public transport regulator said while tuk tuk drivers said they are cutting their free market fares with immediate effect.

“The minimum rate will be cut to 30 rupees from tonight,” Lasantha Alagiyawana acting Transport Minister told reporters Wednesday. 

The minimum bus fare was previously 35 rupees. 

Three wheeler association President, Lalith Dharamsena said the first kilometer is charged from 100 rupees and 80 rupees for the second kilometer.

The price of Petrol 92 Octane will be slashed by 15 percent or 60 rupees to 340, Petrol 95 Octane 95 will be reduced by 26.5 percent or 135 rupees to 375, Auto Diesel by 19.8 percent or 80 rupees to 325, and kerosene by 3.3 percent or 10 rupees to 295.

Wijesekera said on President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s advice and in line with the price formula agreed with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the prices will be reduced from midnight today. (Colombo/Mar29/2023) 

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