To evaluate this claim, FactCheck.lk looked exclusively at Our World in Data (OWID) statistics on COVID-19 to facilitate cross country comparison (as of 10th July). The minister does not state his metrics of success. FactCheck.lk evaluated the claim using three criteria: (1) number of deaths per million, (2) number of tests per thousand alongside the associated positivity rate, and (3) percentage of population vaccinated.
Criteria 1: The number of deaths recorded as due to COVID-19 per million in Sri Lanka (161.9) was higher than in Afghanistan (142.9), Bangladesh (98.3), Bhutan (1.3), and Pakistan (102.2).
Criteria 2: The number of tests conducted per thousand in Sri Lanka (195.5) was lower than India (310.9) and the Maldives (1,989.9); while Sri Lanka also had a higher positivity rate (0.119) than India (0.023), and the Maldives (0.022).
Criteria 3: In terms of the number of people fully vaccinated per hundred, Sri Lanka (6.4) was second only to the Maldives (40.88). However, when considering the number of people per hundred who had received at least one dose, Sri Lanka (17.53) was once again behind both the Maldives (58.86) and India (21.97).
According to available data, at the time of the statement, Sri Lanka did not have the best outcomes in South Asia on any of the three criteria we used to test the claim, and it was behind both India and the Maldives on two of the criteria. Therefore, we classify the minister’s statement as FALSE.
Note: Recently Sri Lanka has implemented a rapid increase in vaccinations. From 10th to 20th July Sri Lanka administered vaccines at the average rate of 243,379 doses per day. The Vaccination Scoreboard by FactCheck.lk of Verité Research (www.veriteresearch.org) shows that Sri Lanka can fully vaccinate everyone above 20 years of age by 18 October 2021, if this pace is maintained.
*FactCheck.lk’s verdict is based on the most recent information that is publicly accessible. As with every fact check, if new information becomes available, FactCheck.lk will revisit the assessment.
FactCheck is a platform run by Verité Research.
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