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Friday August 19th, 2022

World Bank funds Sri Lanka Coronavirus vaccines, ICUs, test kits, lockdown cash

ECONOMYNEXT – World Bank credits and grants are funding Coronavirus vaccines, intensive care units, test kits, as well as 5,000 rupee cash grants for people in lockdown, a program review shows.

The World Bank started a COVID-19 Emergency Response and Health Systems Preparedness Project (ERHSP) and also re-directed funds from existing programs to battle the pandemic.

An 80.5 million credit is now being used to buy 5 million doses of Pfizer vaccines which started to arrive in July and will come till late 2021.

Money has been used to buy one million rapid antigen kits, 390,000 PCR test kits, 1.1 million personal protective clothes for hospitals.

An 88.97 million dollar credit was used to help poor people who lost incomes.

1,338,422 people who lost incomes lockdowns received a one-time cash transfer of 5,000 rupees and 417,427 beneficiaries sent on home quarantine received an in-kind transfer of food packs worth of 5,000 for two weeks from October to December 2020.

629,303 elderly persons, 52,940 people with special needs, and 18,972 patients with chronic kidney disease were supported during the first wave of the pandemic, the agenc said.

26 cabs and 805 motorbikes have been bought for Medical Officers of the Health and Public Health Inspectors COVID management activities.

The additional vehicles increased capacity for contact tracing, testing, and follow up, as well as vaccine deployment activities.

70 intermediate care centers with isolation facilities are being refurbished or modified to handle COVID patients. Work on 56 of the centers has been completed and work on the remaining centers is ongoing.

Work is in progress to strengthen four hospitals to function as Infectious Disease Hospitals (IDH) at the provincial level (Kilinochchi, Hambanthota, Ampara, and the National Institute of Infectious Diseases).

Work is in progress to build/expand intensive-care units/facilities (ICU) in six hospitals (Rathnapura, Anuradhapura, Eheliyagoda, Warakapola, Marawila, and Balangoda) and to build/expand high-dependency units/facilities (HDU) in two hospitals (Pimbura and NIMH).

87 ICU/HDU beds have been supplied to increase the total national capacity of ICU/HDU beds to 650.

120 high-low nasal oxygen therapy units, 25 ICU ventilators, seven neonatal ventilators 20 transport ventilators, 2,100 Oxygen concentrators were procured through the United Nations Office of Project Services (UNOPS) and procurement of seven oxygen-generating plants is in progress.

The World Bank has provided 217.56 million in financing for the project.

This includes a 35 million loan from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), 180.84 million in concessional and non-concessional funding from the International Development Association (IDA), and a grant of $1.72 million from the Pandemic Emergency Financing Facility (PEFF).

Financing of 88.97 million dollars was approved in June 2020 up social protection measures to vulnerable communities, and 80.5million was approved in April 2021 for vaccines. (Colombo/Aug26/2021)

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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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