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Saturday April 20th, 2024

Sri Lanka screens cruise ships for Coronavirus

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka is screening passengers arriving in cruise ships, and taking protection measures, officials said as coronavirus infected persons were found on a liner in Japan.

“We are using a hand-held thermal scanner to monitor people disembarking from the cruise liners,” Health Ministry National Coordinator for Disaster Preparedness Hemantha Herath said.

“We are using all the measures that were taken in the airport, but we are not monitoring the passenger’s whereabouts because they leave overnight,” he said.

Those arriving through the airport from China or has recently been to China have to provide their itinerary. The medical officer of health of the area will visit them each day for a health check.

Japan on Wednesday identified at least 10 new cases of coronavirus after it quarantined a cruise ship carrying at least 3,711 off its coast.

On Thursday, the infected count doubled to 20.

The vessel was quarantined after three former passengers who disembarked in Hong Kong was tested positive for the virus.

Health Services Acting Director-General Lakshman Gamlath said health officials have confirmed that a cruise ship will arrive with 2,000 passengers at the Colombo port and all of those passengers will be examined the same way arrivals at the Bandaranaike International Airport are examined.

However, the ship’s doctor is also expected to give a report on the health condition of passengers and crew to the port before docking as standard procedure, he said.

Most of Sri Lanka’s cruises are on the Dubai-Singapore and the Cochin-Male routes, with a majority of passengers being Europeans.

President of Sri Lanka Institute of National Tourist Guides Mahesh Priyadharshana said travel agents handling cruises were requested to provide masks and sanitizer to tourism support workers, which was fulfilled.

Sri Lanka began implementing intensive measures against the coronavirus from January 23. Cruise ships for 2020 started arriving from January 28.

Sri Lanka also has ships calling at the port every day, where sailors can get ashore and leave.

“There are no specific guidelines given to cargo ships docking at the port,” Herath said.

“To develop a specific guideline there should be an identified risk whereas Bird Flu, H1N1 influenza had a many guideline mainly regarding livestock transportation,”

Tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka from cruises have typically been below 2 percent of the total, but tripled to an all-time high of 3.6 percent or 85,886 tourists in 2018.

Excursionists, tourists who do not spend 24 hours in Sri Lanka, reached the second highest of 186,862 persons in 2018, just below a peak experienced in 2015.

Cruise arrivals have been affected following the Easter Sunday bombings.

The novel coronavirus, has so far infected over 28,000 in China (excluding Hong Kong and Macau), with 563 reported dead. Majority of the infected are in Wuhan, a major city China’s Hebei Province.

Another 200 cases have been reported across 20 countries, with a death reported in Hong Kong.

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Sri Lanka discussing giving extra land, water for Chinese oil refinery

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka is in discussions with China’s Sinopec to give extra land and assure water supplies after the company decided to expand the capacity of a planned oil refinery in Hambantota, Energy Minister Kanchana Wijesekera said.

“There are concerns on how the water supply is going to be provided for the refinery,” Minister Wijesekera told reporters Friday.

The refinery will need more land and also revise conditions in a Board of Investment agreement, he said.

Read more
Sinopec to double capacity of new refinery in Sri Lanka’s Hambantota

Recommendations and decisions from Sri Lanka’s side had already been sent and Sinopec is expected to revert back in May.

“We are hoping to sign the agreement once everyone has agreed,” Wijesekara said.

The principle agreements are expected to be signed by June, he said.

The refinery could sell up to 10 percent of its output in the domestic market.

“There is no commitment by the government to purchase anything,” Minister Wijesekera said. (Colombo/Apr19/2024)

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Sri Lanka rupee closes weaker at 302.00/50 to the US dollar

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s rupee closed at 302.00/50 to the US dollar in the spot forex market on Friday, down from 301.50/302.00 a day earlier, dealers said.

There was increased demand for dollars after the central bank bought 715 million dollars from forex markets. In the previous two months it was buying on average about 200 million US dollars, leaving market participants and bank in a ‘oversold’ position.

There were some official dollars sales Friday dealers said.

READ Sri Lanka rupee quoted wide to US dollar as peg inconsistencies flare up

Bond yields were broadly steady.

A bond maturing on 15.12.2026 closed at 11.30/40 percent down from 11.35/40 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.09.2027 closed at 11.95/12.05 percent up from 11.90/12.05 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.12.2028 closed stable at 12.15/25 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.09.2029 closed stable at 12.30/40 percent.

A bond maturing on 01.10.2032 closed stable at 12.40/50 percent. (Colombo/Apr19/2024)

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Sri Lanka stocks close down, banks trade down

ECONOMYNEXT – The Colombo Stock Exchange closed down on Friday, data on its site showed.

The broader All Share Index closed down 0.38 percent, or 44.80 points, at 11,753; while the S&P SL20 Index closed down 0.53 percent, or 18.46 points, at 3,456.

Turnover was at 1.4 billion. The diversified financials (Rs366mn) and banks (Rs266mn) sectors continued to see selling pressure.

“This was possibly due to uncertainty around the bond discussions,” market participants said.

With the exception of Sampath Bank Plc (up at 77.50) all other banks traded down in the day. Commercial Bank of Ceylon Plc was down at 104.50, Hatton National Bank Plc was down at 188.50, and DFCC Bank Plc was down at 77.00.

LOLC Finance Plc saw the most trades and closed up at 6.40. Another LOLC company, Browns Investments Plc, also saw high traded volumes and closed up at 5.60.

Softlogic Capital Plc was up at 7.00, and Softlogic Holdings Plc was up at 11.20. A trading suspension imposed on SHL.N0000 was lifted effective today as the company submitted the annual report for the year ended 31st March 2023.

However, shares of the Company will remain in the Watch List “due to Qualified Audit Opinion and Emphasis of matter on going concern in the Independent Auditor’s Report in the Audited Financial Statements for the year ended 31st March 2022.”

Dialog Axiata Plc, which announced its merger with Bharti Airtel Thursday, saw its share price close up at 11.90.

“There was some traction on index heavyweights,” market participants pointed out.

Top contributors to the APSI included Aitken Spence Plc (up at 134.50), Ceylon Tobacco Company Plc (up at 1,245.25, and Lion Brewery (Ceylon) Plc (up at 1,048.50).

There was a net foreign inflow of 5 million. (Colombo/Apr19/2024)

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