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Saturday January 28th, 2023

Tough regulations to prevent the spread of Covid 19

ECONOMYNEXT- Sri Lanka yesterday issued the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (Covid 19) (Preventive Measures) Regulations gazette notification, 7 months after the virus entered the country in March.

Many of the health officials and opposition Members of Parliament were demanding that the government turn into law the guidelines given to the public to prevent the spread of the contagion.

There is even a Writ petition filed before the Court of Appeal to compel Health Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi to Gazette the guidelines as regulations.

The Minuwangoda cluster which emerged earlier this month after a 39-year-old woman working at a Brandix apparel factory in the town tested positive for COVID-19 two months after the Kandakadu cluster ended paved the way for the guidelines to be finally made into law.

The Minuwangoda cluster is the biggest cluster of all yielding 1,791 positive cases and forcing the testing of over 50,000 people for the virus.

It is also the cluster that has seen the widest spread of the disease with patients connected with the cluster popping up in many parts of the country from the South to the islands off the Jaffna Peninsula.

Accordingly, the gazette has defined the term “public place” as any place to which the public have access, whether as of right or otherwise, whether on payment or not, whether on invitation or not.

Following section 89 of the Ordinance, the new gazette has new regulations,

Section 90
Every person in a public place or every person in any other place where such person may come into close contact with another person, in any diseased locality in relation to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID – 19) shall –

(a) Wear a face mask at all times; and

(b) Maintain social distancing of not less than one meter between two persons.

Section 91
It shall be lawful for the proper authority in any diseased locality in relation to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID – 19) to –

(a) Restrict the movement of persons;

(b) take or require any person to take a diseased person or a person suspected to be diseased to a hospital, place of observation or quarantine centre for treatment or quarantine purpose; or

(c) Direct any person suspected to be diseased to be self-quarantined in his house, premises or place of residence for a period not exceeding the incubation period as may be determined by the proper authority for the whole of Sri Lanka.

Section 92.
(1) Every person shall, upon the restriction of movement of persons under regulation 91, stay in his house, premises or place of residence for such period as may be determined by the proper authority, for preventing the spread of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID – 19).

(2) A person shall not, during the period determined under sub-regulation (1) –
(a) Enter or leave ;
(b) Travel, transport or enter any public place in; or
(c) Travel within the diseased locality in relation to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).

(3) A person shall not open to the public any institution, place of business or any other similar premises in a diseased locality within the period determined under sub-regulation (1) unless being permitted by the proper authority.

Section 93
The proper authority may allow operating or functioning of any institution, workplace, supermarket, shop, sales outlet or any other place of business which provides essential services or any other service required for maintaining national security or public health in any diseased locality in relation to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID – 19).

Section 94
The employer or person in charge of any institution or workplace which provides essential services or any other service which is required for maintaining national security, national economy, public health or preventing the spread of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID – 19) in any diseased locality in relation to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID – 19) shall in carrying out such services, –

(a) Not exceed the maximum number of employees and other persons permitted within the premises at a time stipulated by the proper authority;

(b) Ensure that every person who enters such institution or workplace wears a face mask at all times;

(c) Ensure social distancing not less than one metre between two persons;
(d) Ensure that the body temperature of every person is measured before entering the institution or the workplace;

(e) Provide adequate handwashing facility with soap or sanitizer for the persons entering the institution or the workplace and ensure that every person who enters such institution or workplace washes their hands before entering such institution or the workplace;

(f) Maintain a record of the name, identity card number and contact details of every person entering the institution or the workplace; and

(g) Comply with such other disease preventive measures as may be determined, from time to time, by the proper authority.

Section 95
A person who owns or in charge of a supermarket, shop, sales outlets or any other place of business which provide essential or any other service in any diseased locality in relation to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID – 19) shall –

(a) Not exceed the maximum number of persons permitted within the premises at a time stipulated by the proper authority;

(b) Ensure that every person who enters such premises wears a face mask at all times;

(c) Ensure social distancing of not less than one metre between two persons;

(d) Ensure that the body temperature of every person is measured before entering the premises;

(e) Provide adequate handwashing facility with soap or sanitizer for the persons entering the premises and ensure that every person who enters such premises washes their hands before entering the premises; and

(f) Comply with such other disease preventive measures as may be determined, from time to time, by the proper authority.

Section 96
Where the body temperature of any person is more than the body temperature as determined by the proper authority, such person shall not be allowed to enter such workplace or premises as specified in regulations 94 and 95.

Section 97.
The driver, conductor and the owner of a motor vehicle which is used for public transportation in any diseased locality in relation to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID – 19) shall ensure such social distancing between two passengers as determined by the proper authority and shall comply with such other disease preventive measures as may be determined, from time to time, by the proper authority.

Section 98
Where the restriction of movement is lifted by the proper authority in any diseased locality in relation to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID – 19), every person who enters a public place or any other place where such person may come into close contact with another person or arranges or organizes a meeting, seminar or any other similar gathering or obtains all services including essential services, shall comply such other disease preventive measures as may be determined, from time to time, by the proper authority.

(Colombo/Oct16/2020)

Reported by Imesh Ranasinghe

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Sri Lanka utility to continue power cuts, regulator says no

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s state-run Ceylon Electricity Board has decided to continue power cuts, as the dry season hits the country despite orders to give 24 hours of power.

The utility said its Board “has decided to continue the demand management programme” and it has informed the regulator of this decision on January 27.

The Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka said it had not approved the power cuts “as it violate and affect the rights of 331,000 students sitting for the Advanced Level exams.”

Sri Lanka’s CEB has high running costs due to long term scuttling of planned coal plants by activists and lastly President Maithripala Sirisena.

‘CEB’s costs went up as demand went up since the last coal plant opening and steady collapse of the currency from 131 to 182 to the US dollar due to open market operations unleashed to suppress rates and operate a flexible inflation targeting by the central bank.

Even more aggressive liquidity injections after 2020 to target an output gap then busted the currency from 182 to 360 to the US dollar.

CEB has to use extra fuel from around February to April 2022 as the dry season hits reducing hydro power.

Sri Lanka’s Human Rights Commission has ordered the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation to supply fuel and banks to give credit for extra power.

Power Minister Kanchana Wijesekera has alleged that CPC officials agreed under duress and threat of jail sentence to supply fuel.

The CEB has to cut power in case demand outstrips supply to maintain frequency at 50 Hz to avoid cascading failures, according to sector analysts. (Colombo/Jan28/2023)

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Sri Lanka president suspends parliament till Feb 08

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka President Ranil Wickremesinghe has suspended parliament till February 08, according to a gazette notice.

Parliament will re-convene at 1000 am on January 08.

President Wickremesinghe told party leaders that he would make a speech, officially declaring his intention to give effect to the 13th amendment to the constitution on provincial councils.

Provincial councils, a power sharing arrangement backed by India as a solution to the ethnic Tamil have not yet been given police and land powers. (Colombo/Jan28/2023)

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Sri Lanka expects influx of global twins

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s expecting thousands twins and non-twin visitors including at least thirty contestants for a Twins Miss and Mr World 2023 contest, where they will join their counterparts in the country.

“We expect upwards of 4000 participants to arrive in the country for the event,” Founder and Chairperson Vice President Global Twins Multiple Birth Forum, Upuli Gamage told reporters.

“And we very much hope that this number will keep going up in the years to come.”

The country amidst an economic crisis is celebrating the Twins Miss & Mr World 2023 for the first time in the World in Sri Lanka to grab the attention of more than 30 countries.

Prospective Sri Lankan twins can apply for the local contest to be held in May. Winners will go the international event in July.

Twins contests are being held in 30 other countries and three participants will come from each country, according to the organizers.

“This event helps to build a positive image of the country while grabbing the attention of 50 countries,” Chairman Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau, Chalaka Gajabahu said.

“And I heard this can be go as a World record to the genus book, that will give country free PR, free digital media marketing, free social media marketing.”

The Sri Lankan Twins Organization along with the tourism authority has initiated this program including twins of this country as a promotional campaign in hopes of bringing in foreign revenue.

There will be series of events commencing from July 24 to 31 including a business forum for investors to interact. Visitors fro 30 countries are expected.

“Countries like Japan do such programs often and we too should, to grab foreign attention,” Consul General to Japan, Sunil Gamage said.

“This will help to build International bonds. This is an opportunity to bring investors.” (Colombo/Jan27/2022)

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