Returning to normalcy without compromising safety
Ministries entrusted to create a new economic vision
Recommencing stalled development projects
Meeting with the secretaries to ministries yesterday (15) at the Presidential Secretariat, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa discussed rebuilding the economy in the face of the current challenges.
Returning to normalcy without compromising safety
A focal point of the discussion was on returning to normalcy. To do so, the President emphasized the need for the public and private sectors to recommence its business activities. Thus curfew needs to be eased to allow these functionalities to proceed without undue obstruction. The responsibility of ensuring the public adhering to safety regulations and preventing large gatherings was entrusted on the secretaries to the ministries as well as heads of institutes.
Creating a New Economic Trend
Rebuilding a policy-driven economy is the responsibility of all, noted President. Whilst protecting people and the local economy, the responsibility of creating a new economic trend lies with the ministries. It is important to establish new businesses and industries. Experienced entrepreneurs must have fresh opportunities. The relevant ministries must at the same time extend the required foundation and support needed for agrarian and fisheries sectors as well as other businesses to recover.
Taking the global crisis into consideration, the need to pay special attention to the local agrarian economy was underlined. Facilities needed to maximize production of export agricultural crops from available land must also be provided, President instructed the officials. Thus it is very important that even the farmer at the village level has easy access to the State machinery.
Recommencing stalled development projects
The discussions also centered on restarting the development projects that were halted due to the prevailing crisis. One of these projects was the initiation to add 100,000 km to the existing road network. It was decided to prioritize this project as a starting point.
Secretary to the President P. B. Jayasundara, Principal Advisor to President Lalith Weeratunga, Secretary to the Prime Minister Gamini Senarath and Cabinet Secretary S. Amarasekera also joined the discussion.
President’s Media Division
New Year Message
I wish the Sinhala and Tamil New Year festival, which is the most splendid cultural extravaganza of the nation, to be a peaceful, a joyful, a prosperous as well as a healthy period for every citizen of our country.
The Sinhala and Tamil New Year that dawns with the transition of the Sun can be considered as a period of cheerfulness, harmony and development of mutual relationships. Nevertheless, a virus that has spread across the world has entered our Motherland, and as a result, presently we are facing the most devastating situation since the era of our ancestors.
Hence, this time we are not able to celebrate festivals collectively as the health specialists have emphasized the importance of maintaining social distance. I appeal to all of you who voluntarily rallied around to conquer any challenge faced by our country and nation, to commit yourselves now as well, to prevent the spread of this deadly virus by maintaining the social distance during this festival time.
The New Year period, nourished with the beauty of nature, is a festival that human beings pay their tribute to the environment and nature. We have now entered an era where the need to integrate with the environment is much felt.
Rituals of New Year that we practiced with utmost honour and commitment since a very long time, especially rituals like the lighting of the hearth, boiling a pot of milk, partaking the first meal of the New Year and the traditional transacting can still be conducted at the auspicious times but restricted to family members.
Children are the true beneficiaries of the happiness of New Year. Even though, there are certain limitations to celebrate New Year festivals this time, we, as adults, must create an environment for the children to experience the cheerfulness of this festive season. Therefore, I remind you affectionately to perform New Year rituals confined to your homes while ensuring that children feel and enjoy the spirit of the New Year. Amidst our New Year resolutions, let us join hands with strong determination to defeat this menace threatening our people and country.
May this be a peaceful and a prosperous New Year to all of you.
April 11, 2020
The Christian community of Sri Lanka, together with their brethren all over the world celebrates Easter, the commemoration day of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, with utmost devotion.
The intend of the devoted commemoration is to purify the mind and soul. The Christian devotees spend the lent period indulging in religious activities recalling the crucifixion, suffering, sacrifice, the death, and resurrection of Jesus. I believe that peace and harmony attained in the mind due to these pious activities help the Christian community to spread the message of love, peace, and harmony among the brethren in the country.
The devotees are shocked and saddened by the corona pandemic faced by the world community today. Their desire is to provide relief to the suffering people with the blessings of the divine Father and Son.
The Easter festivities in the past were full of joy and delight. However, last year it left a sorrowful memory of pain and loss. Even today the shock has not been fully erased. The commitment of the government is to ensure justice for the people who suffered. Furthermore, the government is determined to ensure complete eradication of such tragedies from the Motherland.
At this moment when the country is faced with a grave challenge to the health of the people, the government expects the Christian community to stay at homes in accordance with the advice of the Government and health officials and pay obeisance to Jesus Christ.
I wish you, your family and the entire society would be able to absolve yourselves from sins by faithfully recalling the message of Jesus.
April 9, 2020
Minister Dinesh Gunawardena explores possibilities to assist Sri Lankan Migrant workers
Minister of Foreign Relations, Skills Development, Employment and Labour Relations, Dinesh Gunawardena met with the Secretaries and senior officials of the Ministry of Foreign Relations, the Ministry of Skills Development, Employment and Labour Relations and the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE), today (10 April 2020), at the Ministry of Foreign Relations, to discuss ramifications emanating from the present Coronavirus pandemic to Sri Lankan migrant workers abroad and to explore possible mechanisms to assist these Sri Lankans.
Minister Gunawardena referring to approximately over 1 million Sri Lankan migrant workers, who are employed largely in the Middle East, South East Asia, East Asia, Europe, and Africa regions stated that the interests of these Sri Lankans need to be looked into by the two Ministries. During the meeting, he specifically drew the attention of the senior officials to the needs of the migrant workers, who are employed in the Gulf region. Minister Gunawardena said that measures taken by the host countries in this region to curb the spread of the Coronavirus has adversely affected the migrant workers and instructed senior officials to explore solutions to these implications.
The issues of unregistered migrant workers under the SLBFE, those who have recently lost their jobs and issues relating to remittances, were discussed at the meeting, to explore practical solutions, so those migrant workers of Sri Lanka could be assisted well during this challenging time. The Foreign Minister also said that the Government of Sri Lanka would take every possible step to assist and safeguard the rights and wellbeing of Sri Lankan migrant workers all over the world.
Foreign Secretary Ravinatha Aryasinha, Secretary to the Ministry of Skills Development, Employment and Labour Relations, D.M. Sarath Abayagunawardana and other Senior Officials who attended the meeting shared their views and insights on the current situation of migrant workers and emphasized that the two Ministries will work closely for the betterment of the migrant workers.
Ministry of Foreign Relations
10 April 2020
His Excellency the President of Sri Lanka has established on the 23rd March, 2020 a special fund - ‘COVID – 19 Healthcare and Social Security’ to strengthen the mitigation activities aimed at controlling the spread of COVID – 19 virus and related social welfare programmes in Sri Lanka.
Sri Lankan community and well-wishers living in Germany especially in the six Federal States of Hessen, North Rhein-Westphalia, Rhineland Palatinate, Saarland, Baden Wurttemberg and Bayern within the consular jurisdiction of the Consulate General of Sri Lanka in Frankfurt am Main, are invited to make a financial contribution through the official bank account of the Consulate General:
Name of Account: Generalkonsulat von Sri Lanka
Name of Bank: Deutsche Bank AG
IBAN: DE26 3807 0059 0195 0377 00
The Consulate General of Sri Lanka in Frankfurt am Main will acknowledge receipt by Email and inform the management of the ‘COVID – 19’ Healthcare and Social Security Fund through the Ministry of Foreign Relations, Sri Lanka.
For further inquiries, you may please contact the Consulate General hotlines:
00 49 69 6605 3980, 00 49 151 5723 1741
00 49 177 6929 472, 0049 152 1432 2779
We thank you for your generosity.
Consulate General of Sri Lanka
Lyoner Str. 34, Tower 2 - 7th Floor
60528 Frankfurt am Main.
IS BLACK TEA AN IMMUNITY BOOSTER FOR COVID- 19?
Is there any silver lining in the dark cloud for ‘Ceylon Tea’? The Tea Research Institute of Sri Lanka (TRI) has released a scientific paper under the theme: ‘Anti-viral’ properties of tea - black tea may become the unique brew of choice with no side effects to fight against Corona Virus? ".
Low incidence of infected patients:
Sri Lankans habitually consume 03 to 04 cups of Ceylon Black Tea. Therefore, in addition to epidemic control measures and social distancing and hot local temperatures (between 26°C-32°C), the practice of drinking tea may also contribute to the low incidence of infected patients with coronavirus. The infected case and the cases per million people in Sri Lanka are comparatively low. It could be due to a combination of multiple reasons, which certainly requires in-depth investigation.
Power of Ceylon Black Tea as a potential booster:
Several studies are ongoing globally in search of therapeutic options to recognize ‘anti-viral’ agents which could treat patients affected by COVID 19. However, “prevention is better than cure”. TRI has made a genuine effort to investigate the "Power of Ceylon Black Tea" as a potential booster to aid one’s immune system to fight against the virus when confronted.
Several studies undertaken in different countries have demonstrated the potential benefits of Black & Green Tea consumption in controlling influenza and common cold generally caused by viral infections. Tea Catechins have the ability to bind onto the surface of the influenza virus and inhibit the spread. TRI has quoted a recently conducted research study from Taiwan where the chemical structure of 64 compounds had been bioinformatically modelled against SARS-CoV- 2.
Black tea has ‘theaflavins’:
It had been revealed that ‘Theaflavins’ could potentially inhibit a critical SARS-CoV- 2 enzyme, and thereby, theoretically inhibit COVID-19. Theaflavins are antioxidant polyphenols that are formed during enzymatic oxidation process (fermentation) in the manufacture of Black Tea. In contrast to Green Tea, Black Tea is rich in Theaflavins due to the manufacturing process. An alkaloid, found in tea is Theaflavins, a chemical shown to alleviate respiratory diseases such as asthma, chronic bronchitis and other lung diseases. It relaxes and opens air passages in the lungs making it easier to breathe.
Inhaling the fumes (steam) of hot black tea:
The TRI release has highlighted that, inhaling boiling water mixed with Black Tea can facilitate the clearing of the passages towards the lungs. As the COVID-19 epidemic is a similar illness where the patients find it difficult to breathe. The scientists at the Sri Lanka Tea Board Laboratory suggest that frequent consumption of hot black tea is capable of flushing viruses trapped in the throat area. This practice is believed to improve immune capacity and inhibit inflammation due to Catechins and Polyphenols contained in Black Tea. Further, inhaling the fumes (steam) of hot black tea at high temperatures facilitates the removal of viruses trapped around the nasal area and opens a pathway for the tea Theaflavins to reach the lungs and protect it from viruses.
Drink Black tea good for immune system:
It could be assumed in respect of the circumstantial evidence available that daily consumption of Black Tea (03 to 04 cups without sugar or milk) is very useful and linked to the boosting of the immune system of normal human beings against respiratory diseases. The COVID-19 is an influenza-like illness which could be perceived to be curtailed by Theaflavins, one of the most active ingredients in Black Tea as explained in this review.
Please note that Black Tea is neither a medically proven prophylaxis nor a treatment against COVID-19, but it is worth conducting further research to investigate the possible anti-viral benefits of Theaflavins in Black Tea against COVID-19. Clinical trials however, need to be initiated prior to claiming benefits against COVID-19 in humans. It is premature to make concrete claims until in-vivo experiments or Research & Development on living cells are undertaken as per WHO guidelines. Nevertheless, Sri Lankans strongly believe that Ceylon Tea, the miracle Black Tea beverage is certainly one of them.
The relevant scientific papers are available with the Sri Lanka Tea Board for any references.
(Courtesy of Sri Lanka Tea Board/ 03/04/20)
Foreign Minister, Dinesh Gunawardena met with senior officials of the Ministry
of Foreign Relations today at the Ministry to discuss about the welfare of the
Sri Lankan expatriate communities, difficulties currently being faced by
these communities and ways to explore practical solutions to assist
expatriate communities at this time of need.
Earlier this week, taking note of the growing concerns of the Overseas Sri
Lankans amidst the rapid spread of COVID- 19 and their inability to
immediately return to Sri Lanka, the Ministry had discussed with Sri Lanka
Missions abroad ongoing & further measures to ensure the well being and safety
of Overseas Sri Lankans.
In discussing issues of migrant workers, especially in the Middle Eastern countries, the Minister directed the senior officials of the Ministry to work closely with the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE) to find appropriate solutions to such issues.
Foreign Minister Gunawardena also highlighted the importance of maintaining economic and trade relations between Sri Lanka and other countries during this period. He advised the officials to take necessary actions to explore new markets for Sri Lankan products, especially for Tea and to consolidate existing markets for Sri Lankan products such as apparel.
Foreign Minister Gunawardena appreciated the services of senior officials of the Ministry, including staff of Sri Lankan Overseas Missions, and their dedication during this difficult period. Secretary Ravinatha Aryasinha, Additional Secretaries, Directors General and other senior officials attended the meeting.
Ministry of Foreign Relations
03 April 2020
The Federal Foreign Office of Germany has informed that the Immigration Authorities of the federal states will follow the simplified procedures in extending visas (Residence permit (D visa) and Schengen visa (C visa)) of the foreign nationals who could not leave Germany due to the current restrictions in international travel and the associated difficulties before the expiry of the validity of the visa or residence permit.
a) An application for an extension of the residence permit (D visa) or Schengen visas (C visas) should be submitted to the competent immigration office responsible for their place of residence before their expiry.
b) Due to the current situation, the application can be made by email. Please note that the general requirement of a personal interview for a Schengen visa extension has been exempted.
c) Complete personal details (surname, maiden name, first name, spelling of the names according to German law, date of birth, place and district of birth, gender, nationalities, passport number) to be submitted. For Residence visa the type of title and any file number of the immigration office must be specified.
d) It is advisable to keep a print out of the extension application or hold it in another form in addition to the expired title and your own passport / ID card. Until the decision of the immigration authority is made, the previous title is valid along with the application.
e) The immigration authorities have been asked to grant the extension of the departure period and to inform the applicant of Schengen visas (C visas) in writing. This written notification should be made available with the passport and visa when leaving the country.
f) The Federal Foreign Office has also informed that any third-country national who is temporarily in Germany should take every opportunity to return to their country of residence, even if this does not correspond to the original travel plans and the stay has to be shortened.
For further details, please contact the hotlines.
Embassy of Sri Lanka in Berlin
Monday to Friday (8.30 am – 4.30 pm) After Office hours and week-ends
Tel. +49 30 809 097 49 / +49 30 809 097 61 / +49 1 723 111 944 / +49 1 517 127 4166 / +49 1 609 733 7858 / +49 1 517 127 4166
Consulate General of Sri Lanka in Frankfurt (Monday to Friday and week-ends)
Tel. +49 69 660 539 80 / +49 1 515 723 1741 / +49 1 776 929 472 / +49 1 521 432 2779
Embassy of Sri Lanka - Berlin, Germany