Batticaloa has first coronavirus patient as island-wide numbers climb

A patient at Batticaloa Teaching Hospital has tested positive for coronavirus, the first case in the NORth-East, as the island-wide total climbed to 43 earlier today. Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Health said that almost 200 other people are currently under observation at hospitals and treatment centres. Meanwhile, Shavendra Silva, the head of the Sri Lankan army who is subject to US travel sanctions, acknowledged that 1,719 people had been detained in quarantine centres run by the military to date.

Sri Lankan military and intelligence track down foreign arrivals 

The Sri Lankan military admitted it was using intelligence officers to track down foreign arrivals who entered the island and may have evaded the government’s quarantine process, set up in response to the coronavirus outbreak. Sri Lanka’s deference secretary Kamal Gunaratne, said that there were more than 170 people who had returned from Italy and Korea, that were missed by the screening process. “The passengers, who had arrived from coronavirus-hit countries and hiding to evade quarantine, will be instructed by the Police and Sri Lanka Army soldiers in the respective areas to submit the...

Sri Lankan war criminal to lead coronavirus response

The head of the Sri Lankan army, who is currently subject to US travel sanctions due to his role in overseeing war crimes, is to lead Colombo’s response to the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak on the island. Shavendra Silva has been appointed the head of Sri Lanka’s National Operation Center for Prevention of COVID- 19 Outbreak, which has reportedly “been set up on the directive of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa”. “This Centre will coordinate preventive and management measures to ensure that healthcare and other services are well geared to serve the general public,” said an official p ress release...

SriLankan Airlines pilot tests positive for coronavirus after attending ‘Battle of Blues’

SriLankan Airlines have confirmed that one of their pilots has tested positive for the COVID-19 coronavirus, just days after he reportedly attended an annual cricket match between two of Colombo’s elite schools. In a statement , the cash-stricken airline said that the pilot “operated his last lay-over flight to Singapore on February 28, 2020 and thereafter all the flights he operated have been turnaround flights”. “Upon learning his medical condition this evening, all crew members who had come to contact with him during the last 14 days have been put under self-quarantine with immediate...

EC says Sri Lanka's elections not postponed yet as there is no “serious situation"

The Chairman of the National Election Commission, Mahinda Deshapriya, confirmed that a decision to postpone the general election was still not made despite the COVID-19 coronavirus threat in Sri Lanka. Mr. Deshapriya stated this yesterday (March 16), following a meeting between the health officials and officials of the Election Commission (EC).

Sinhalisation of the North-East: Seruwila-Verugal

US based advocacy group, People for Equality and Relief in Sri Lanka (PEARL), released its third instalment of its Sinhalisation of the North-East series, focusing on the impact of state-sponsored Sinhalisation and militarisation of Seruwila-Verugal. Data gathered by PEARL researchers in the series examines how Sinhalisation and militarisation is used to deliberately shift the demographics of Tamil and Muslim areas. “Trincomalee was a historically majority Tamil-speaking region, with both Tamils and Muslims dominating the district until the mid-20th Century. But land settlement and...

Sri Lanka moves coronavirus centre to Batticaloa after Sinhala protests

The Sri Lankan government decision to set up a coronavirus quarantine centre in Batticaloa and Kandakadu, came after protests earlier this month form Sinhala locals in Hendala, admitted Sri Lanka’s health minister. Initially, the government had chosen the Leprosy Hospital at Hendala, which the Director-General of Health Services described as “ideal”. However consecutive days of protests , led by a former government minister Nimal Lanza and local Chrisitan and Buddhist clergy, forced the government to shift the centre to the Eastern province. “I will not allow this to happen in this place,”...

Sri Lankan cardinal calls for UN genocide investigation into coronavirus

File photograph: Malcolm Ranjith and Mahinda Rajapaksa The head of Sri Lanka’s Roman Catholic Church called on the United Nations to immediately conduct a probe into the COVID-19 coronavirus, claiming that it is a man-made illness and those responsible should be prosecuted for “genocide”. Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith claimed that the coronavirus is “the work of a rich and powerful nation”, though declined to name any particular countries. “Some of these viruses that we are talking about are the product of unscrupulous aimless experimentation,” he said. “We have to say that we must stop this kind...

TNA calls for postponement of Sri Lankan elections amidst coronavirus outbreak

The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) has called on the Sri Lankan government to postpone parliamentary elections that were scheduled for next month, due to the threat posed by the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus on the island. “The safety of the public is our paramount concern,” said the TNA in a statement this morning. "For this reason, and for the reason that all democratic aspects cannot be properly be adhered to in this abnormal situation, we request the postponement of the General Elections due to be held on 25th of April 2020,” it added. The call comes after Sri Lanka President Gotabaya...

Sri Lankan soldiers admitted to Jaffna hospital with respiratory illness

At least two Sri Lankan soldiers have been admitted to Jaffna Teaching Hospital after showing signs of a potential respiratory illness, amidst concerns over a potential coronavirus outbreak. Though preliminary tests have not indicated any positive results for coronavirus, both soldiers are currently being treated in isolated rooms at the hospital. One of the soldiers was stationed at Mannar, whilst the other was at an army camp in Vavuniya. Tens of thousands of Sri Lankan soldiers are stationed across the North-East, where at least two military-run quarantine centres have been constructed to...

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