Daily Mirror - Print Edition

PM turns to China for oxygen amidst rising COVID-19 patients

10 May 2021 - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}      

  • China says taking request as top priority
  • Medical equipment also requested
  • China looking to supply all supplies including ventilators as medical aid

By Jamila Husain

Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa has requested China to supply oxygen and ventilators to Sri lanka’s Health Ministry as the country battles a rising number of COVID-19 patients, the Daily Mirror learns.In a request sent to China’s Ambassador in Colombo, the Prime Minister’s Office, under the instructions of Mahinda Rajapaksa, has requested for medical supplies including oxygen concentrators, oxygen cylinders as well as high flow nasal oxygen therapy machines and oxygen regulators.  

A spokesperson from the Chinese Embassy in Colombo told Daily Mirror they had received the request and the Chinese embassy was working to provide the supplies as soon as possible. The spokesperson said that while the entire region including India fights a raging battle against the coronavirus, the Chinese government would consider the Sri Lankan Prime Minister’s request as top priority. “The Chinese government will try to give all what has been requested as a medical aid. The most important is the timing, even if you have the cash, you go to the factory, you will have to wait for the supplies. But the Chinese government will expedite the procedure for Sri Lanka,” the Spokesperson said.  

“Now there is a rise in the pandemic spread in India and the neighbouring countries like Nepal, Bangladesh and others. And many countries have placed their orders for medical supplies to China. But we will attach high importance for Sri Lanka’s request. Based on the bilateral relations between the two countries,” the Spokesperson added.  
The Daily Mirror learns that the Prime Minister’s request may be provided as aid under a humanitarian gesture by the Chinese government and supplies are expected to arrive in the country soon. Chief of Staff of Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, Yoshitha Rajapaksa told Daily Mirror that the Prime Minister had sought the support of Sri Lanka’s international partners to assist with medical supplies especially oxygen in order to prepare for any emergency if the need arises. Yoshitha said that China had been assisting Sri Lanka in providing medical equipment since the start of the pandemic last year and at the same time several other countries had also assisted Sri Lanka. “As a responsible government the Prime Minister has made this request in order to assist the health authorities with the much needed requirements as they battle the COVID-19 virus,” Yoshitha said.Yesterday Sri Lanka’s daily COVID-19 patient count passed the 2000 mark in a single day for the first time since the pandemic entered the country last year.