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Friday August 19th, 2022

Sri Lanka orders 14 million doses of Pfizer-BioNTech for under-20s and booster shot

The Pfizer-BionTech COVID-19 vaccine / Image credit: Flickr

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka has placed an order for 14 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 jab to vaccinate people under 20 and as a booster shot, a health official said.

State Pharmaceutical Corporation (SPC) Chairman Dr Prasanna Gunasena said a final decision on how to divide up the consignment will be made by the Advisory Committee of Communicable Diseases (ACCD).

Administering a third dose or booster shot against COVID-19 is expected to begin in October or November following the ACD’s decision, Gunasena told reporters on Tuesday (21).

The SPC has acquired a total of 31.7 million doses of the AstraZeneca, Sinopharm, Sputnik V, Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.

Sri Lanka has purchased enough vaccines to jab 17.5 million people, said Gunasena.

“There is no need to acquire more vaccines at the moment,” he said.

According to State Minister of Production, Supply and Regulation of Pharmaceutical Channa Jayasumanas, so far Sri Lanka has received 2,719,840 doses of Astrazeneca, 330,000 doses of Sputnik V,  1,010,430 doses of Pfizer, 1,500,100 doses of Moderna and 26 million doses of Sinopharm vaccines.

Jayasumana said more than 50 percent of the population have received two doses each of the aforementioned vaccines so far.

“As of September 20, the first dose of a vaccine has been administered to 62.9 percent of the total population while 50.7 percent have been fully vaccinated,” Jayasumana told parliament on Tuesday.

Children above 12 years of age with congenital disorders will be given the Pfizer jab starting September 24 at the Lady Ridgway Children’s Hospital in Colombo. The vaccine will be available for such children at all hospitals in the Western province by September 27 and island-wide by October 04.

“There are around 30,000 to 50,000 children with congenital disorders in the 12-19 age group,” the state minister said.

Deputy Director of Health Services Dr Hemantha Herath, meanwhile, said vaccination will be limited to main vaccination centers in the future.

“In a few months, we will be close to a period of one year since we started vaccination.

“Vaccination must continue, but with a third dose administration is in discussion, the rollout will be limited for a few places in the future,” Herath said. (Colombo/ Sep21/2021)

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Sri Lanka schedules 3-hour power cuts for Aug 20, 21: regulator

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka will impose power cuts of up to three hours on Saturday August 20 and Sunday August 21, Public Utilities Commission (PUCSL) Chairman Janaka Ratnayake said.

All areas (A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, P, Q, R, S, T, U, V and W) will have power cuts of 1 hours and 40 minutes between 10.30 am and 06.00 pm and 1 hour 20 minutes from 06.00pm to 10.00 pm.

Click here for a detailed schedule.

The state-run Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) said supply interruption time and restoration time will vary within 30 minutes as indicated above.

Sri Lanka’s daily scheduled power cuts that were reduced to one hour in July with power generation from hydro power plants contributing more than 50 percent to the main grid reducing thermal power plant use was extended to three hours last week due to a breakdown at the Norochcholai coal power plant.

According to officials, the breakdown happened in Unit 1 of Norochcholai which will take around two weeks to repair.

The Minister of Power & Energy said Unit 2 is undergoing scheduled maintenance work while Unit 3 will continue to operate. West Coast and other fuel power pPlants will be used to manage the supply, the ministry said. (Colombo/Aug02/2022)

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Sri Lanka guidance peg edges T-bond yield edge down

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka Central Bank’s guidance peg for interbank transactions edged down on Friday (19), while yields in Treasury bonds picked up slightly and in T-bill remain unquoted in dull trade, a day after the Central Bank announced the policy rates will remain stable, dealers said.

A bond maturing on 01. 06. 2025 closed at 27.95/28.05 percent on Friday, slightly up from 27.90/28.00 percent on Thursday.

No T-bills were quoted on Friday, dealers said.

Meanwhile Sri Lanka’s central bank announced a guidance peg for interbank transactions further weakened by three cents to 361.00 rupees against the US dollar on Friday from 360.97 rupees.

Data showed that commercial banks offered dollars for telegraphic transfers between 368.00 and 370.00 for small transactions.  (Colombo/ Aug 19/2022)

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Sri Lanka records 10 new COVID-19 deaths in 48 hours as case numbers rise

ECONOMYNEXT –  Sri Lanka recorded 10 COVID-19 deaths in the 48 hours from August 17 to 19 taking the country’s pandemic death toll to 16,640, health ministry data showed.

Sri Lanka is experiencing a slight increase in COVID-19 cases with the relaxation of public health restrictions relating to face masks and public gatherings.

Health authorities said the situation will be monitored constantly and have asked the general public to continue to follow basic hygiene measures in order to control the spread of the virus again in the community.

In August alone 2,924 new cases were recorded in Sri Lanka, with 84 deaths attributed to the disease.

So far in 2022, from January onward, health authorities have identified 81,157 patients to date.

Epidemiology unit data showed that 874 patients are currently receiving treatment, out of which 716 are receiving home based care.

The spread of the virus has increased with the use of public transport rising after an easing of a fuel crisis.

Sri Lanka is also facing difficulties in securing essential medicine supplies for the health sector due to a forex shortage.

Health officials said if the number of COVID-19 patients rise to a level the health sector cannot manage,  with the added issues of fuel and medical shortages, the health system might collapse.

“It is the responsibility of us all. There is no use trying to forcibly control people. We all have the responsibility to reduce or stop the spread of the virus before it gets out of control. We have been living with it for the past two years,” Deputy Director General of Health Services Dr Hemantha Herath said. (Colombo/Aug19/2022)

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