COLOMBO, April 1 (Xinhua) — A batch of Sinopharm vaccines arrived in Sri Lanka from China on Wednesday as part of a donation by the Chinese government to the island nation.
The vaccines arrived at the Bandaranaike International Airport on Wednesday where it was officially handed over to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa by China’s Ambassador to Sri Lanka Qi Zhenhong.
Several Ministers including Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena and Minister of Tourism Prasanna Ranatunga were present at the occasion.
Workers transport packages of Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine at the Bandaranaike International Airport in Colombo, Sri Lanka, March 31, 2021. (Sri Lankan President’s Media Division/Handout via Xinhua)
An official certificate signing ceremony took place between the Chinese Ambassador and Sri Lanka’s State Minister of Pharmaceutical Production, Supply and Regulation Channa Jayasumana, after which the vaccines were handed over to President Rajapaksa.
Speaking at the ceremony, Jayasumana thanked the Chinese government and its people for the donation and said this was a very important milestone in the friendship between Sri Lanka and China.
Ambassador Qi, at the ceremony, said the arrival of the vaccines once again demonstrated the brotherhood between Sri Lanka and China and once again implemented the commitment of China in making the Chinese COVID-19 vaccines a global public good.
“It also once again declared that solidarity is the only right way for the international community to defeat the pandemic at an early date and build a global community of health for mankind,” the ambassador said.
He further added that Sri Lanka was among the first countries to which China donated the vaccines.
“It is particularly worth mentioning that the Sri Lanka government has decided to include Chinese nationals in its vaccination plan. In this regard, on behalf of China, I would like to extend our highest appreciation for this most friendly gesture,” Qi said.
Withstanding the test of the pandemic, the ambassador said, he firmly believed the China-Sri Lanka strategic cooperative partnership based on sincere, mutual assistance and ever-lasting friendship would elevate to a new level. Later the day, the WHO’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE)