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Sri Lanka hopes to vaccinate all population aged above 30 by September

2021 Jun 26, 9:41, COLOMBO
Photo: ANI

Sri Lanka hoped to vaccinate all citizens above the age of 30 years against the COVID-19 virus by September, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa said.

In a televised address to the nation on Friday, President Rajapaksa said Sri Lanka had received 1,264,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines, 3.1 million doses of Sinopharm vaccines, and 130,000 doses of Sputnik V vaccines.

The president said in July, more doses of Sinopharm and Sinovac vaccines are expected to arrive from China, and arrangements had also been made to obtain 2 million doses of the Sputnik V vaccines from Russia.

"We could vaccinate 13 million people by the end of September this year. Accordingly, we can vaccinate almost everyone over the age of 30 by that time," the president said.

Commenting on nationwide lockdowns, the president said no country could continue to function with its airports and ports closed for long. He said Sri Lankans stranded abroad should be brought back, and imports and exports had to be done at least under some sort of control.

"Due to this unavoidable global connectivity, no country has been able to completely prevent the re-entry of the coronavirus. By shutting down the country, the risk can be controlled only temporarily," he said.

The president added that in order to successfully control the coronavirus, people must responsibly support the strict social distancing restrictions imposed by the government.

He said currently Sri Lanka is facing a third wave of coronavirus due to mass gatherings and traveling on holidays in April, and a number of different strains have spread in the country which created a more dangerous situation than ever before.

"The human resources and other facilities available to the health sector are inadequate to urgently deal with the situation when the virus spreads rapidly and the number of infected people increases alarmingly. Therefore, the government had to shut down the country again," the president said.

As a result, the capacity in factories and institutions had to be limited. However, restrictions gravely affected Sri Lanka's industries. In particular, the apparel industry which brought in about 5 billion US dollars revenue to Sri Lanka suffered a heavy loss, Rajapaksa said.

He further said Sri Lanka's tourism industry had also suffered a blow due to the pandemic

Sri Lanka covid-19 sputnik V Sinopharm Sinovac. Rajapaksa coronavirus
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