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Hemas Holdings offers its hotel in Negombo as quarantine centre

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Hemas Holdings Plc has offered its Club Hotel Dolphin in Negombo as a quarantine centre to the Government if the need arises, as part of wider public-private sector efforts to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

Speaking to Daily Mirror, Mr. Abbas Esufally, Chairman of HEMAS Leisure stated that, “we feel that as a Sri Lankan company the private sector must stand up and rise to the occasion. This is a national crisis and we must come together to combat it. We spoke to Mrs. Kimarli Fernando, Chairperson of Sri Lanka Tourism and Mr. Sanath Ukwatte, President of THASL and decided that we must offer our services and assistance to the Government. Our hotel, Club Hotel Dolphin in Waikkal is at the heart of the outbreak in Puttalam and we felt that the government could make use of our property at this crucial hour," he said.

"We conveyed our intention to both the Army Commander, Lt. Gen. Shavendra Silva and President’s Chief Advisor, Mr. Lalith Weeratunge and they have responded positively and stated that they will take it up the moment the need for it arises. We communicated that we will continue to man the Engineering and Kitchen departments and the Army will help to run and manage the rest of the operations. We will ask our staff to volunteer to continue working at the property and assist the army. Furthermore, our HEMAS factory companies, HEMAS Pharmaceutical and Morrison’s are busy manufacturing critically required pharmaceuticals, soaps, hand sanitizers and other urgently required essential items.” he added.

Club Hotel Dolphin is a 4-star property with 154 rooms situated in Waikkal. It is owned by Serendib Hotels Plc, which is part of Hemas Holdings Plc.


http://www.dailymirror.lk/breaking_news/Hemas-Holdings-offers-its-hotel-in-Negombo-as-quarantine-centre/108-185441

 

Saudi Arabia bans prayers at mosques over coronavirus fears

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Move will also include weekly Friday prayers in a country that has  reported more than 270 corona virus cases.

Saudi Arabia has suspended the holding of daily prayers and the weekly Friday prayers inside and outside the walls of the two mosques in Mecca and Medina to limit the spread of corona virus.  Earlier, on Tuesday, Saudi Arabia had suspended congregational prayers in other mosques in the country except Masjid al-Haram and Masjid an-Nabawi, in Mecca and Medina respectively.  Authorities had placed restrictions on praying inside the mosque in Mecca. On Thursday, the government suspended prayers outside the two holy mosques.  "The Presidency and the security and health authorities decided to suspend the presence and prayers in the outer squares of the Grand Mosque [Masjid al-Haram] and the Prophet’s Mosque [Masjid al-Nabawi] starting tomorrow, Friday,” the country’s official SPA news agency quoted Hani bin Hosni Haider, a spokesman for the General Presidency of Mecca’s Grand Mosque and the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina, as saying

 
   

Pakistan PM urges US to halt sanctions on coronavirus-hit Iran

Imran Khan implores Washington, which issued fresh sanctions this week, to ease action as Iran struggles with COVID-19.

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13 hours ago

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has called on the US to lift "unjust" sanctions on Iran so its western neighbour can focus on winning the battle against the coronavirus pandemic.

"I would stress and insist to the international community to lift the sanctions on Iran," Khan said at a press conference on Friday regarding the coronavirus outbreak.

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"It is very unjust they are dealing with such a large outbreak on one side, and on the other they are facing international sanctions," Khan told reporters in Islamabad.

Aisha Farooqui, a spokesperson for Pakistan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told Al Jazeera that Iranian President Hassan Rouhani had earlier sent a letter to Khan requesting Islamabad's help amid the coronavirus outbreak.

"Pakistan has a principled position that unilateral sanctions against Iran should be lifted. PM Imran Khan and Foreign Minister Mahmood Qureshi both have publicly stated this," she added.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted on Friday that the US policy towards the Islamic Republic would live in "infamy" and that his country "won't break".

This week, the US imposed fresh sanctions on Iran, arguing that they did not limit the flow of aid to the country in its time of need.

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Iran has almost 20,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus, with 1,433 deaths.

The COVID-19 outbreak there is one of the deadliest outside China, where the disease originated.

So far, the US has refused to lift the sanctions against Iran, with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo criticising Tehran for a "lack of transparency" amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Arif Rafiq, president of Vizier Consulting, a New York-based political risk advisory company, told Al Jazeera: "It is almost certain that Washington will ignore Khan's advice on lifting the sanctions on Iran.


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"This is ultimately a US-Iran bilateral issue, and Pakistan has little influence over American policy toward Iran."

Rafiq said Washington was more likely to ease sanctions on Tehran in exchange for the release of Western prisoners.

The US has warned that Iran would be directly responsible for the deaths of any Americans held by Tehran.

Tensions escalated in January after US President Donald Trump ordered the killing of revered Iranian general Qassem Soleimani, prompting Iran to retaliate against US forces in Iraq days later.

Following Soleimani's assassination, Khan urged both the US and Iran to avoid further escalation and offered to mediate.

Iran's economy was battered after Trump withdrew the US from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA, a multilateral nuclear deal), reimposing severe sanctions that curb oil and gas exports on which the government in Tehran is heavily dependent for revenues.

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA NEWS

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/03/pakistan-pm-urges-halt-sanctions-coronavirus-hit-iran-200320155952750.html

 
   

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