An Echelon Media Company
Monday December 4th, 2023

Sri Lanka wants to prosecute patient who delayed testing for COVID19

CONFLICTED -Director-General of Health Services D. Anil Jasinghe is concerned private sector testing for COVID19 will become a business

ECONOMYNEXT – A Sri Lankan man whose travelling companion tested positive for the COVID19 resisted attempts by the authorities to go into quarantine or be tested for more than three days before he was taken to a government facility, the country’s top health official said.

Director-General Health services Dr Anil Jasinghe said this person was tested positive two days ago and became Patient 11.

“This person’s actions were selfish and anti-social, and we are contemplating taking legal action against him,” Jasinghe said.

Patient 11 had travelled to Germany with another person who was tested positive for the disease several days previously.

The Director-General said that this person had resisted efforts to go to a government medical facility and had instead consulted his personal doctor, a private hospital and then gone to a Chest Facility.

“This caused a delay in placing him in quarantine and testing him,” Jasinghe said.  

Sri Lanka’s current frantic and aggressive efforts to prevent community transmission of the COVID19 virus may have been necessitated by a delay in using an existing facility to quarantine travellers from coronavirus hit countries.

On March 5, when the government decided to quarantine passengers arriving at the Bandaranaike Airport from South Korea, Italy and Iran they chose the Leprosy Hospital at Hendala which the Director-General of Health Services described as “ideal.”

The facility had been urgently prepared by the Army and was ready to accept travellers by March 6th.

But a huge protest broke out from local residents against the quarantine centre.

It was led by former government Minister Nimal Lansa and local clergy. Lansa in a Facebook posting on March 7 said that “while quarantine is essential it is better to place it in a sparsely populated area rather than this densely populated area.”

He also said he was in contact with the Minister of Health and the Prime Minister about this issue,

Health Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi later conceded that the decision to move away from the Hendala facility to the current quarantine centres in Kandakadu and Batticaloa “took another two or three days.”

Eventually, the delay in implementing strict quarantine ended up with 4,453 incoming travellers with or without symptoms entering society.

Local Public Health Inspectors were expected to keep tabs on these persons, and has added the muscle of the Military Intelligence services to search for some of these persons.

Teams of officers are now looking for possible COVID19 patients who have slipped the net. (Colombo March 16, 2020)

-Arjuna Ranawana


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Sri Lanka stocks close up as some investor interest returns

ECONOMYNEXT – The Colombo Stock Exchange closed up on Monday, CSE data showed.

The All Share Price Index was up 0.22 percent, or 23.33 points, at 10,743.59.

The S&P SL20 index was up 0.68 percent, or 20.60 points, at 3,067.73.

Turnover was at 708 million. The banks sector contributed 189 million, while the food, beverage and tobacco sector contributed 176 million of this.

Sri Lanka’s stock market has seen some investor interest return after last week’s news that the country had managed an agreement on a debt restructuring deal with an official creditor committee, and foreign funds for some development projects resumed.

Top positive contributors to the ASPI in the day were Sampath Bank Plc (up at 71.50), LOLC Holdings Plc (up at 379.00), and Commercial Bank of Ceylon Plc, (up at 90.90).

There was a net foreign outflow of 52 million.

Citrus Leisure Plc, which announced that its banquet hall and revolving restaurant at the Lotus Tower would launch on or around Dec 9, saw its share price rise to 6.20 rupees. (Colombo/Dec4/2023).

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Sri Lanka rupee closes broadly steady at 328.10/30 to the US dollar

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s rupee closed at 328.10/30 to the US dollar on Monday, from 328.00/10 on Friday, dealers said.

Bond yields were stable.

A bond maturing on 01.06.2025 closed at 13.70/14.00 percent from 13.70/95 percent.

A bond maturing on 01.08.2026 closed at 13.90/14.10 percent from 13.90/14.05 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.01.2027 closed at 14.00/14.10 percent from 14.05/10 percent.

A bond maturing on 01.07.2028 closed at 14.20/35 percent from 14.15/25 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.05.2030 closed at 14.25/45 percent, from 14.20/45 percent.

A bond maturing on 01.07.2032 closed at 14.05/40 percent, from 14.00/45 percent. (Colombo/Dec4/2023)

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Gov minister highlights abortion rights, sex-ed for children, and Sri Lanka men killing their women

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s legislators have politicized the topics of rape and violence without addressing the elephant in the room, Jeevan Thondaman, Minister of Water Supply and Estate Infrastructure Development said in parliament on Monday (4).

“All the members here are talking about rape. What happens after that? We must talk about abortion rights. That is not something anyone wants to touch on, and that is why we are in this place right now,” Thondaman said.

“Despite alarming statistics on rape and violence, women are often blamed and punished for it. The criminalisation of abortion is a major example of this.”

Sri Lanka has some of the most restrictive abortion laws in the world. According to a 2016 estimate by the Health Ministry, he said, approximately 658 abortions take place a day, and close to 250,000 a year.

“That’s 250,000 women whose lives you are endangering.”

He added that what was needed at this point in time was comprehensive sexual education (CSE) for children and young people.

“Only through CSE in schools will children and young people develop, accurate, age appropriate knowledge attitude and skills; positive values such as respect for human rights, gender equality, diversity and attitude and skills that contribute to a safe, healthy and positive relationship.”

Thondaman pointed out that CSE plays a pivotal role in preparing young people for a world where HIV, AIDS, sexually transmitted infections, unintended pregnancies, and sexual and gender based violence still pose a risk to their well-being.

“CSE basically empowers children take control and make informed decisions freely and responsibly.”

Thondaman also highlighted the findings of a 2021 study (Fatalities_20211109_UNFPA) by the UNFPA and the University of Kelaniya that showed that a majority of women killed in Sri Lanka were murdered by those close to them.

“62 percent of homicides of Sri Lankan women are committed by either an intimate partner, ex-partner or family member. 84 percent are killed in their own homes by someone they know.”

Police and the judiciary have failed Sri Lanka’s women, the minister pointed out.

“Only 5 percent of these cases, between 2013-2017, were ever concluded. Men claim they were provoked, or are of unsound mind or have mental illness: These have been successful defenses. And the Police often express sympathy to this narrative as opposed to the victim’s.”

“We have a history of protecting oppressors.”

It takes 7-10 years for a child rape case to conclude, he pointed out.

Establishment of child courts are needed, he said, as well as several legislative amendments. “The government is working on a new law to reform the domestic violence act, reform of marriage and divorce laws to ensure there is an easier path to divorce: no one should be forced to remain in a marriage that is either abusive or not healthy.” (Colombo/Dec4/2023)

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