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Tuesday June 18th, 2024

Sri Lanka has controlled Covid-19, but risks not over Jasinghe says; as new Covid-19 cases found

COMMUNITY TESTING: Sri Lanka is making plans to make sample Coronavirus tests on people who are not in hospital, the Head of the health service Anil Jasinghe said.

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka is controlling the spread of Coronavirus through several measures but the risks of the disease spreading is not fully over, and contact tracing would continue even if curfews are relaxed, the head of the island’s health service Anil Jasinghe said.

Sri Lanka quarantined then blocked foreign arrivals and then traced contacts of all infected cases that had come before quarantine whenever they were found.

“There is no wide community transmission in this country,” Jasinghe said in a video statement. “At the moment the disease is limited to clusters, through various measures we have taken.”

“We cannot say the risks of the disease had gone away.”

Sri Lanka is planning to relax curfews, at least outside high-risk areas after April 19. Sri Lanka closed the country for arrivals on March 19.

Epidiomiological sleuths in Sri Lanka health and defence ministries had been aggressively tracing contacts of all discovered patients.

“Even if we open the country, the work carried out by the health and defence ministries would continue,” he said.

“At a future date we will be able to say that the risk has gone away.”

However there may be asymptomatic cases on the loose. Sri Lanka however does not yet have a random or voluntary testing program.

This week a new Coronavirus index patient turned up, who had landed in Sri Lanka from India on March 12, raising questions about the incubation period.

The fellow passenger in her plane has had a cough and she had requested for different seat. Jasinghe said on March 27 she had coughed but since she was an asthma patient, the family had not suspected Coronavirus.

This week she had got worse and was admitted to hospital. Her husband and child had also contracted the disease.

Sri Lanka does not have a voluntary testing program yet for foreign returnees to get a test if they do not have symptoms as the state has controlled the testing system.

On April 18, four new patients were confirmed among those in quarantine taking the total confirmed to 248. Three were in the Oluvil quarantine centre and the fourth was under home quarantine.

Sri Lanka is also readying quarantine centres to bring back citizens abroad, who are trapped in foreign countries. (Colombo/Apr18/2020)

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Sri Lanka’s Ceylon Chamber links up with Gujarat Chamber

ECONOMYNEXT – The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce has signed an agreement with the Southern Gujarat Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SGCCI) to increase trade cooperation between India and Sri Lanka.

The MOU was signed by CCC CEO Buwanekabahu Perera, SGCCI President Ramesh Vaghasia, in the presence of Dr Valsan Vethody, Consul General for Sri Lanka in Mumbai, India.

“With the signing of the MoU, … the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce and SGCCI aim to facilitate trade between the two countries via initiatives such as trade fairs and delegations, business networking events, training programmes,” the Ceylon Chamber said in a statement.

“This partnership will open doors for Sri Lankan businesses to explore opportunities in Surat’s dynamic market and enable the sharing of expertise and resources between the two regions.”

Established in 1940, SGCCI engages with over 12,000 members and indirect ties with more than 2,00,000 members via 150 associations. It promotes trade, commerce, and industry in South Gujarat.

The region’s commercial and economic centre Surat has risen to prominence as the global epicenter for diamond cutting and as India’s textile hub, and is ranked the world’s 4th fastest growing city with a GDP growth rate of 11.5%

Surat’s economic landscape is vibrant and diverse. As India’s 8th largest and Gujarat’s 2nd largest city, it boasts the highest average annual household income in the country.

The nearby Hazira Industrial Area hosts major corporations like Reliance, ESSAR, SHELL, and L&T. (Colombo/Jun18/2024)

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Sri Lanka telecommunications bill some clauses ruled unconstitutional by SC: Speaker

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s Supreme Court has found a number of clauses in a proposed amendment to the Telecom Telecommunications Amendment bill unconstitutional, speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardana said.

“Clause No 8, proposed section 9A 2 of the bill is inconsistent with Article 12 1 of the constitution, however this inconsistency shall cease if word ‘may’ will be replaced with word ‘shall’ as set out in the determination of the supreme court.”

“Clause No 9 is inconsistent with Article 12 1 of the constitution and only can be passed with special majority required under paragraph 2 of the Article 84. However, the inconsistency shall cease if clause is amended as set out in the determination of the supreme court.

Clause No 12, proposed section 17 10 of the bill is inconsistent with Article 12 1 of the constitution and can only be passed with special parliament majority required under Article 84 paragraph 2. However, the inconsistency shall cease if clause is amended as set out in the determination of the supreme court.”

Sections of clauses 13, 18, 20, 33 and 35 were also in violation of the constitution, and could only be passed by a special majority of parliament. (Colombo/Jun18/2024)

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Sri Lanka to exempt one house from imputed rent wealth tax: President

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka will exempt one house from a proposed wealth tax outlined in an International Monetary Fund program, President Ranil Wickremesinghe said.

About 90 percent of the people’s houses are likely to be exempt from the proposed tax, he said.

“[O]ne house will be exempt from this,” President Wickremesinghe told parliament Monday.

“It is going to have a very high threshold and I do not think the vast majority of the people in this country should even be worried about their house

“Don’t worry your house will be safe.”

The IMF program document however did not mention an exempt on one house, but did mention a threshold.

Taxing houses and thrift in general could have detrimental effects on people’s well-being housing stock and their willingness to remain in the country without migrating, critics say.

Related Sri Lanka to tax imaginary rents on houses under IMF deal

The mechanism of imputed rents was used because rates on houses was assigned to provincial councils and courts could strike it down.

Opposition legislator Harsha de Silva said the Samagi Jana Balwegaya welcomed President Wickremesinghe’s statement. (Colombo/June18/2024)

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