India, Russia also to provide vaccines to armed forces
- WHO to provide vaccines to 27% of SL population
- More than 23,000 such persons had been vaccinated on Thursday
- The Indian Army and Russian military have agreed to provide a number of vaccines to their Sri Lankan counterparts
By Darshana Sanjeewa Balasuriya
More than 96,000 Sri Lankan citizens stranded overseas have been brought back to the country since the COVID-19 virus spread globally, Army Commander General Shavendra Silva said yesterday.
He said more than 92,000 Sri Lankans were brought by air, and approximately 4,000 Sri Lankans by sea.
Gen. Silva said 9,475 Sri Lankans are under quarantine at present at several centres.
He said the Government brings at least 1,000 stranded Lankans daily to the country and more than 1,500 were to arrive from Kuwait, Italy, Qatar, UAE and Saudi Arabia yesterday.
Meanwhile, commenting on the vaccination drive, the Army chief said they will not depend on vaccines alone, but precautionary measures would be taken to control the spread of the virus.
He said the vaccination drive is being carried out especially in the areas and Grama Niladhari Divisions where the highest cases of infections are being reported.
A certain percentage of vaccines are also being given to those who engage in duties close to the public such as those engaged in garbage collection, employees working in supermarkets, Courts and Port workers in addition to frontline workers.
He also said more than 23,000 such persons had been vaccinated on Thursday.
The Indian government had donated 500,000 Oxford–AstraZeneca Covishield vaccine to Sri Lanka last month and about 250,000 of those doses had been administered so far.
Meanwhile, Gen. Silva said the Indian Army and Russian military have agreed to provide a number of vaccines to their Sri Lankan counterparts.
The WHO earlier assured Sri Lanka that it would provide vaccines for 20% of the local population free of charge.
The Army Commander said the WHO has agreed to increase that percentage and most likely would provide at least 27% to us.
In addition to it, China and Russia also agreed to donate vaccines to the local population.