SL aims to vaccinate entire population by early 2022

Colombo, June 10 (IANS) Sri Lanka is working to vaccinate its entire population against Covid-19 by early 2022,, Army Commander Gen. Shavendra Silva said.

Addressing the virtual Sri Lanka Investment Forum (SLIF, Silva said a nationwide vaccination program was ongoing in the country and the island nation was in the process of getting adequate vaccines in the future, Xinhua news agency reported.

“It has to be understood that Covid-19 is not merely a health issue. Managing the pandemic is essentially managing the economy and livelihood as well. Also, the resilience in a pandemic is essentially the resilience in the economy too,” Silva, who also heads the National Operations Centre for the Prevention of Covid-19, said.

“Therefore, the government has never underestimated the importance of local and international economic activities to run the country’s economy.”

Silva said that while a country like Sri Lanka could not have a lockdown for a longer period, the government had preserved a conducive environment for economic activities, from daily wage-earners to large-scale factories, especially the apparel sector that largely contributed to the country’s economy.

“Our pandemic management strategy includes the uninterrupted running of industries, factories, export agencies, and international businesses, where the employees have been assured to work amid the pandemic with all necessary healthcare precautions and associated facilities,” he said.

The Army chief said Sri Lanka was unique and a land of opportunities for economic partnerships and what laid ahead was the building of fruitful and mutually benefiting relationships with commercial partners around the globe.

According to the Health Ministry, a total of 2,023,256 Sri Lankans have been vaccinated against Covid to date with Sinopharm, Sputnik V, and AstraZeneca jabs.

Sri Lanka is presently in the mid of a third wave of the pandemic with 210,661 infections reported to date since the first local patient was detected in March last year.

Within the past two months alone, over 100,000 new infections have been reported.

Official figures showed that 1,844 deaths related to the virus have been reported since March last year.

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