Sri Lanka aims to vaccinate all population against COVID-19 by early 2022

Thursday, 2021-06-10 06:48:49
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A health worker takes a nasal swab sample from a man for COVID-19 test in Colombo, Sri Lanka, May 24, 2021. (Photo: Xinhua)
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Sri Lanka is working to vaccinate the entire population against COVID-19 by early 2022, allowing the workforce, economic pillars and general public to run the economy, local media quoted Army Commander Gen. Shavendra Silva as saying.

Speaking as a guest speaker at the virtual Sri Lanka Investment Forum (SLIF) on Tuesday, Silva said a nationwide vaccination program was ongoing in the country and Sri Lanka was in the process of getting adequate vaccines in the future.

"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 Center 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 benefitting relationships with commercial partners around the globe.

Sri Lanka is facing a third wave of the COVID-19 outbreak with 212,834 infections reported to date since the first local case was detected in March last year.