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2 committee appointed for Covid-19 & Dengue control

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President Ranil Wickremesinghe has taken decisive action to combat the spread of Covid-19 and Dengue in the country by establishing both a Ministerial Committee and an Expert Committee. 

These Committees have been formed in accordance with Cabinet Decision No. 23/Miscellaneous/026 issued on June 22nd, 2023.

The Ministerial Committee, led by Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardene, comprises 8 members, including Cabinet and State Ministers. Their primary responsibility is to implement urgent measures aimed at controlling the spread of Covid-19 and Dengue nationwide.

Simultaneously, President’s Secretary Mr. Saman Ekanayake, acting upon President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s instructions, has appointed an Expert Committee consisting of 11 members who possess extensive knowledge in the relevant field. This Committee will provide invaluable expertise and guidance in the fight against Covid-19 and Dengue.

To support the Ministerial Committee in its objectives, the following experts and officials in the relevant fields have been appointed as members of the Experts Committee:

This Committee comprises Dr. Seetha Arambepola – State Minister of Health as the Chairperson, and Mr. S. Janaka Sri Chandraguptha – Secretary, Ministry of Health, Ms. M Kodippiliarachchi – Additional Secretary (Local Government & Provincial Councils), Dr. Asela Gunawardena – Director General of Health Services, Dr. S. M. Arnold – Deputy Director General (Public Health Services – I), Dr. Samitha Ginige – Director, Epidemiology Unit, Dr. Nalin Ariyarathne – Director, National Dengue Control Unit, Dr. Ananda Wijewickrama – Senior Consultant Physician, Dr. Lakkumar Fernando – Pediatrician, Prof. Neelika Malavige – Professor, Department of Immunology and Molecular Medicine and Dr. Upul Dissanayake – Consultant Physician as members of this Committee. 

In addition, Mrs. Buddhika S. Gamage, Senior Assistant Secretary to the President has been appointed as the Convener of the Committee.

To facilitate the work of the Experts Committee, nine Provincial sub-Committees have been established. These sub-Committees will be chaired by the Chief Secretary of the relevant province and will include representatives from various key sectors such as education, fisheries, health, Local Government, and the Tri Forces. The involvement of these sub-Committees aims to enhance collaboration and coordination at the provincial level in the fight against Covid-19 and Dengue.

Dr. Arambepola and the newly appointed Committee members are expected to contribute their expertise and knowledge to develop effective strategies and policies to control the spread of these diseases and safeguard public health in the country.

The Ministerial Committee responsible for addressing the spread of Covid-19 and Dengue convened at the parliament, chaired by Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena today (09).

During the meeting, representatives from the Dengue Control Unit were also present. While acknowledging the effective functioning of the healthcare system in the country, the urgent need to implement an educational program at the provincial level was emphasized.

Furthermore, it was decided that the Experts Committee would convene on Tuesday, the 13th. The Provincial Chief Secretaries will be invited to attend this meeting, and the formulation of a Dengue control action plan at the provincial level will be a key agenda item.

(President’s Media Division)

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SLFP to support no-confidence motion against the Speaker

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The Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) has announced its endorsement of the no-confidence motion to be brought against the Speaker of Parliament Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena.

Accordingly, the SLFP announced that it will support the motion being brought against the Speaker by the opposition, and will vote in favour of it.

On Monday (26 Feb.), several Opposition members, led by Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) Leader Sajith Premadasa, signed a motion of no confidence against the Speaker, claiming that he had violated the Constitution.

As such, a group of MPs belonging to the opposition in Parliament including M. A. Sumanthiran, Lakshman Kiriella, Prof. G. L. Pieris, Tissa Attanayake, Chandima Weerakkody and Shan Wijayalal de Silva, had inked the motion for approving the much-disputed Online Safety Bill amidst ‘irregular procedures’.

The no-confidence motion pointed out that the Speaker had ignored the Supreme Court’s recommendations pertaining to Sections 13, 17, 20, 33 (6), 34 (1), 35 (1), 21, 22 and 33 of the Online Safety Bill.

Earlier this month, Opposition Leader charged that the Speaker had ignored nine recommendations given by the Supreme Court while enacting the Online Safety Act, adding that they no longer have faith in him.

(adaderana.lk)

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School outdoor activities suspended over soaring temperatures

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The Education Ministry has instructed all respective school authorities to refrain from making students participate in strenuous outdoor activities until Friday (March 01) at schools as temperatures are expected to rise further.

Accordingly, Sports Day events, sports practices or any other scheduled outdoor activities are urged to be suspended for the time being.

Provincial and zonal authorities of education have been instructed to brief school principals about the matter, the ministry said in a press release.

In addition, school administrations are required to comply with the health guidelines issued by the Health Ministry and the Education Ministry.

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Court suspends divestiture process of SLT & Lanka Hospitals

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The Court of Appeal yesterday (27) issued an interim order preventing authorities from proceeding with the divestiture process of Sri Lanka Telecom and Lanka Hospitals Corporation PLC, until March 12.

Three Petitions were filed for Sri Lanka Telecom PLC including by Lyca Mobiles, and S.M.R. M company, while two petitions were filed for Lanka Hospitals Corporation PLC including by Lyca Leasing Holdings.

Upon the oral submissions made by President’s Counsel Kuvera De Zoysa, Court of Appeal Justice D.N. Samarakoon issued notices on respondents, returnable for March 12.

The petitioners named Minister of Finance Ranil Wickremesinghe, State Minister of Finance Shehan Semasinghe, the members of the special Cabinet-appointed negotiating committee for the purpose of selecting pre-qualified bidders for the strategic divestiture pertaining to 51.34% shares of Lanka Hospitals PLC and several others as respondents.

Kuvera De Zoysa, PC with Raslka Dissanayake, Sajana de Zoysa, Dinusha Pathirana and Shablr Huzalr instructed by Sanath Wijewardane appeared for the petitioners.

The petitioners had informed the court that they had submitted bids per the required criteria for the divestiture of the Sri Lankan Government’s shares of 50.23% in Sri Lanka Telecom PLC and 51.34% in Lanka Hospitals Corporation PLC.

The petitioners alleged that, however, the Cabinet of Ministers had rejected the bids without providing any clear explanations, adding that the decision was against the law.

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