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2 committee appointed for Covid-19 & Dengue control



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)


2 companies go missing after non payment of Excise taxes!




It has been revealed that 07 institutions have pending excise tax payments and 02 companies that are to pay over Rs. 1.5 billion have gone missing without a trace.

The revelations were made during the Ways and Means Committee meeting held at the Parliament Complex yesterday (20) which was chaired by MP Patali Champika Ranawaka.

According to a parliament media release, the two companies that have gone missing are Globe Blender and Wayamba Spirits warehouse.

It is also said that these two companies have also not submitted payment plans while the other companies have worked according to the payment plans.

It has also been emphasized at the meeting to suspend the companies’ licenses by Oct. 30 if they fail to pay the arrears amount before October 15.

Meanwhile, it has also been emphasized it should be probed as to how the scam behind sticker attached to liquor bottles, was done.

It was also urged by the committee chairman to calculate the total amount of fines obtained over this scam since Sep. 07, 2023 and to calculate the total revenue loss incurred by the Excise Department in this manner.

It was further revealed that out of the samples checked, 90% of the stickers were proven as fake.

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Number of rabies deaths on the rise




The Ministry of Health said that the number of people who have died from rabies has increased in the last few years.

Dr. Heshan Guruge, medical officer of the Anti-Rabies Division, said that the lack of knowledge about rabies as well as the bites of animals other than dogs have led to the increase in these deaths.

Dr. Guruge expressed these views while attending a discussion held yesterday (20) at the Health Promotion Bureau in conjunction with the World Rabies Day on September 28.

“When studying the human deaths that happened in the last few years due to rabies, we can see that a number of animals other than dogs have bit them. In some cases, it is not even possible to know who the animal is. Several people who had passed out after being drunk had been bitten by some animal. After a few days, the symptoms of rabies develop. Several such incidents were reported in the last two or three years. Proper first aid should be given in case of any animal bite. Wash the wound with soap and water. If you have alcohol at home, an iodine solution like betadine, surgical spirit, or an antiseptic liquid like hydrogen peroxide, you can use it. Then go to a hospital. If we do this, we can eliminate rabies from Sri Lanka,” he said.

Don’t get closer to new pets for two weeks

Meanwhile, Dr. Athula Liyanapathirana, community specialist of the Epidemiology Unit, said that 12 people have died due to rabies in 2023 so far.

He said that there is a risk of contracting rabies from the bites of all mammals.

The Anti-rabies Unit said that 25 to 30 people die from rabies every year.

The Epidemiology Unit requested the people not to get closer to pets such as dogs and cats for 14 days after bringing them home.

Arrangements should be made to vaccine the dogs against rabies before a period of four weeks has passed.

When bitten by a dog, the area should be washed and cleaned with soap for ten minutes, and after that it is important to seek medical treatment immediately.

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Danushka Gunathilaka’s trial concludes: verdict on 28




The trial against Sri Lankan cricketer Danushka Gunathilaka has been concluded.

The final hearing was held before Judge Sarah Huggett at the Downing Center District Court in Sydney, Australia today.

Accordingly, the Judge has informed that the verdict of the trial will be delivered next Thursday (28).

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