COLOMBO : China donated 1.6 million Sinopharm vaccine doses and syringes to Sri Lanka on Tuesday, July 27.
Chinese ambassador Qi Zhenhong, Ambassador of China handed a symbolic token of the donation to Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa at the Presidential Secretariat on Tuesday.
Minister of Health Pavithra Wanniarachchi, Minister of Fisheries Douglas Devananda, Secretary to President Dr. P.B. Jayasundera, Principal Advisor to President Lalith Weeratunga and Foreign Secretary Admiral Prof. Jayanath Colombage were present at the meeting.
After a friendly communication of the two sides, the Sri Lankan government decided that this batch vaccines will be given to the people in the Northern and Eastern Provinces. It’s jointly believed that this donation will greatly help protect people’s lives and health in Sri Lanka, strongly support the nationwide vaccination drive and greatly contribute to an early resumption of economic and social normalcy.
President Gotabaya Rajapaksa extended his sincere appreciation to China for its continuous assistance since the outbreak of the pandemic and expressed his wish to bring more Chinese vaccines to the island for an early completion of vaccination.
President Rajapaksa also invited Chinese side to assist more in the development of north and east region in agriculture, fisheries, tourism, and renewable energy.
Ambassador Qi congratulated Sri Lanka on leading the world in vaccination speed under the strong leadership of President Gotabaya, and expressed his pleasure and honor to see near 80% of the vaccine doses administered in Sri Lanka were supplied by China. The Chinese Ambassador also appraised the convincing scientific research conducted by University of Sri Jayawadenepura on Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine’s high effectiveness against Delta variant. “No matter how difficult it is to fight the pandemic or to revive the economy, you could have full confidence that the Chinese people will always be with Sri Lankan people.” said Qi.
Earlier in the day, two chartered flights of SriLankan Airlines carrying the vaccine and syringes landed at Bandaranaike International Airport from Beijing. Minister of Health Hon. Pavithra Wanniarachchi, Ambassador Qi Zhenhong and State Minister Prof. Channa Jayasumana welcomed the consignment and signed the hand-over certificate at the airport. Health Minister Wanniarachchi and Ambassador Qi also delivered brief speeches to media from both countries before the ceremony concluded.