Sri Lanka’s Defence authorities on Saturday received a batch of 300,000 doses of Sinopharm Covid-19 vaccine, donated by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) of China.
The vaccines which arrived at Bandaranaike International Airport on Saturday morning have been handed over to Sri Lankan Defence Secretary General Kamal Gunaratne by Wang Dong, defence attaché of the Chinese Embassy to Sri Lanka, the Xinhua news agency reported.
Speaking to journalists after the handover ceremony, Defence Secretary Gunaratne said that the service personnel, their families and the ex-servicemen are expected to be vaccinated with the vaccines.
“Since a greater number of service personnel have been vaccinated as of now, the general public could also be facilitated using the balance amount,” he said.
Expressing gratitude to China for the timely support, General Gunaratne said, “We are so happy that as a result of a request made by the Ministry of Defence of Sri Lanka to the Defense Minister of China, we received 300,000 doses of vaccines for members of the security forces and their family members. This is a timely donation.”
Recalling the remarkable and long-standing relationship between the two countries, Wan Dong said the Chinese people have never hesitated to extend their support to the Sri Lankans in difficult times.
The donation shows the solidarity between the two countries in fighting the Covid-19 pandemic, he added.
On his Twitter account, Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa thanked China’s PLA for the donation, saying the assistance from China will ensure the vaccination drive in Sri Lanka a success.
Army Commander General Shavendra Silva said that on the same flight, 2 million more doses of the Sinopharm vaccines had also arrived from China.
Sri Lanka has so far received 18 million doses of the Sinopharm vaccine, which is the leading vaccine being administered across the country.