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Adhere to Covid-19 health practices – Minister

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In response to the emergence of the new Covid variant JN.1 reported from India, Industry and Health Minister Dr. Ramesh Pathirana assured that the Ministry of Health is closely monitoring the situation. 

As of now, no cases have been reported from the sample tests conducted. Despite this, the minister urged the public to adhere to the health practices established during the previous Covid season.

Furthermore, Minister Dr. Ramesh Pathirana announced that preparations have been finalized for a vaccination program aimed at controlling the resurgence of the measles disease across the country. The program is scheduled to commence next week and will be administered through the Medical Officer of Health (MOH) Offices nationwide.

These updates were shared by Minister Dr. Ramesh Pathirana during a press conference at the Presidential Media Center today under the theme ‘Collective Path to a Stable Country.'”

Minister Dr. Ramesh Pathirana further commented:

“The ongoing initiative to provide quality and advanced medicines to the people of Sri Lanka under the free health service is being consistently implemented. The country experienced a shortage of certain medicines due to the economic downturn after the Covid crisis. However, with the steady improvement of the country’s financial situation, the government has expedited the procurement process to obtain essential medicines.

To enhance transparency in the procurement of medicines for hospitals, preparations are underway to digitize procurement activities. Expert advice is being sought from the computer science departments of the University of Colombo and University of Moratuwa. This digitization effort is expected to streamline future procurement activities.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe has allocated the necessary funds in this year’s budget to improve the quality control laboratory of the NMRA. Structural changes in capacity and human resources are anticipated this year.

Identification of 850 types of essential medicines required for the country has been completed. These medicines cover a wide range, including those vital for saving lives, contact lenses, surgical equipment for heart patients (including stents), orthopedic surgery equipment and other medical necessities.

The alarming number of 50 deaths from dengue disease last year underscores the need for collective action from society. The government, with the support of the entire community, is implementing an environment cleaning program involving members of the security forces. Dengue can be controlled by maintaining a clean environment.

Although Sri Lanka has been recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO) for eradicating measles, the Ministry of Health acknowledges around 700 reported cases last year. Certain deficiencies in people’s existing immunity may have contributed to this situation. Starting from the second week of January, arrangements have been made to provide the measles immunization vaccine through all Medical Officer of Health offices nationwide. Parents are urged to ensure their children receive the necessary immunization and if necessary, individuals can receive this vaccine as an additional dose.

Amidst discussions about the new JN.1 Covid strain reported from India, the Ministry of Health reassures the public that, as currently reported by the World Health Organization, there is no undue cause for concern. Continuous monitoring is being carried out and with the support of the Medical Research Institute, extensive sample tests have been initiated. To date, no patients with the new Covid variant have been identified. Nevertheless, the public is advised to adhere to the health practices followed during the last pandemic season.”

(President’s Media Division)

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Decision on water tariff reduction, soon?

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Minister of Water Supply and Estate Infrastructure Development Jeevan Thondaman, announced that the reduction of water tariffs is being studied alongside the new electricity tariff revision, with a decision expected by the end of this week.

The Minister also highlighted that the Water Supply Board, previously experiencing a monthly loss of LKR 2.8 billion, has now achieved a profit of LKR 6.2 billion.

Minister of Water Supply and Estate Infrastructure Development Jeevan Thondaman made these remarks during the ‘Collective Path to a Stable Country’ press briefing today (17)  at the Presidential Media Centre (PMC).

Minister Jeevan Thondaman, elaborating further, also stated:

We commend Minister Kanchana Wijesekera for initiating steps to lower electricity tariffs. The water supply sector is closely tied to electricity tariffs, making it likely that this revision will also lead to reduced water tariffs.

Water availability is influenced by various factors. We previously committed to lowering water tariffs in tandem with reductions in electricity charges. Currently, the Ministry is not only focusing on electricity but also assessing the impact of reduced interest rates, down from 26% to 11%. Additionally, we are studying the potential reduction in water tariffs based on changes in the dollar exchange rate. It’s important to note that the cost of chemicals procured by the water supply board is influenced by the dollar exchange rate.

It is expected that by the end of this week, a decision will be made regarding the extent of the reduction in the water tariff. When I assumed office in January 2023, the Ministry faced challenges, unable to even provide 1,000 new water connections. Moreover, I inherited a Ministry burdened with an USD 800 million debt and a Water Supply Board experiencing monthly losses of approximately LKR 2.8 billion. The board’s monthly recurring expenses of LKR 4.5 billion had a significant national impact.

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4 females arrested over brutal assault on child

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Aranayaka Police say that 04 female suspects have been arrested over brutally assaulting a six year old child.

The arrests were made after a video of the incident had gone viral online.

Accordingly, the women including the child’s mother, have been arrested and are to be produced before the Mawanella Magistrate’s Court today (July 17).

The child, who is under the care of his father, is to be produced before the Mawanella Judicial Medical Officer (JMO).

Aranayaka Police is conducting further investigation into the incident.

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Price of several fertilizers to be reduced

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The Minister of Agriculture and Plantation Industries, Mr. Mahinda Amaraweera today (17) instructed the State Fertilizer Company to take steps to significantly reduce the prices of fertilizers used for plantation crops such as cinnamon, tea and coconut.

Accordingly, the President of State Fertilizer Company, Dr. Jagath Perera stated that the prices of 5 types of fertilizers such as APM, YPM, Urea ( Cinnamon), SA ( Cinnamon) and TDM fertilizers produced by State Fertilizer Company will be reduced from Rs.1500 to Rs.2000 with immediate effect.

A discussion was held today at the Ministry of Agriculture and Plantation Industries regarding the reduction of fertilizer prices. The minister gave these instructions during the discussion.

(dailynews.lk)

 (This story, originally published by dailynews.lk has not been edited by SLM staff)

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