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EU to grant euro 100 million for Covid control

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Health Minister Dr. Keheliya Rambukwella told EU officials (29) that 70 per cent of the country’s population has been vaccinated. The Minister also pointed out that the population over 30 years of age has been fully vaccinated.

He said this when the Ambassador of the European Union to Sri Lanka and the Maldives, Denis Chaibi, called on Minister Rambukwella at his Ministry.

The European Union, in coordination with the World Health Organization, donated about 2 million euro worth of medical equipment to Sri Lanka’s healthcare sector. These include Pulse Oximeters, ECG machines, oxygen regulators, hospital beds, and more. The EU Ambassador to Sri Lanka also discussed the provision of a special relief loan of 100 million euro to control the Covid pandemic through the European Investment Bank (EIB).

The Minister pointed out that Sri Lanka has one of the highest levels of vaccination in the world with nearly 60 per cent of the 20-29 year old youth group having been vaccinated and 32 per cent of 15-19 year old school level group also vaccinated.

Rambukwella said that a booster vaccine would be introduced and that priority would be given to those in health, defense and tourism sectors. He pointed out that there is a stock of one million vaccines to start this programme and that the country receives around 400,000 vaccines every week.

The Minister also pointed out that those who have not been vaccinated due to various religious and traditional views will be referred for vaccination.

He noted that the Government has done its maximum to ensure that the vaccines are available to the people, adding that the rest is up to the people.

The Minister said that people from countries such as France, Germany and India are planning to hold their weddings in Sri Lanka and the Health Ministry is currently considering the necessary guidelines in this regard. The Minister said that discussions are underway to make the vaccination card compulsory in the country and it will be very important to direct the youth to receive their vaccination.

Expressing his views during this meeting Ambassador Denis Chaibi said that restrictions are currently being relaxed in Europe. He also noted that the vaccination card has been made compulsory in entering public places in some European nations.

Maj. Gen. Dr. Sanjeewa Munasinghe, Secretary to the Ministry of Health, Dr. Sherly Stapleon, Country Director, World Vision Lanka, Dr. Olivia Niveras, Public Health Administration Officer, World Health Organization and Dr. Asela Gunawardena, Director General of Health Services were also present.

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