First batch of COVID-19 jab to arrive by Feb end – General Shavendra
By Dilanthi Jayamanne
Sri Lanka will receive the first batch of the COVID-19 vaccine to be administered to frontline workers battling against the virus, by the end of February 2021, Head of the National Operations Centre for Prevention of COVID-19 Outbreak (NOCPCO), Army Commander, General Shavendra Silva said.
Responding to accusations that authorities were only delaying bringing down the COVID-19 vaccine, Gen. Silva yesterday (18) said, as a member of the Committee chaired by Adviser to the President, Lalith Weeratunga, he could vouch that at least a part of the vaccine consignment would be brought by the end of next month to be administered to healthcare workers, members of the Tri-Forces and the Police, who were involved in control and prevention of the virus.
He said more of the vaccine would be brought down for more sections of the population, prioritising those above the age of 60, in March this year.
Furthermore, he rebutted allegations that the Government was hiding the true figures of those infected.
The Centre, established even before the first local patient was diagnosed in March last year, has continued to provide information regarding the number of cases diagnosed with the virus each day, the number discharged, and the number of deaths.
Clarifying, he said even the eight COVID-19 deaths recorded on Sunday (17) were not of those who died on the same day. There were only three deaths that occurred on Sunday, while the remaining five were those which occurred earlier, but the post-mortem reports were delayed due to various reasons, he said.
Meanwhile, the NOCPCO, releasing statistics, said by 18 January, Colombo District had most of the COVID-19 infected patients (19,753). Also, Gampaha had 10,953 and Kalutara 3,822.
Kandy District had 2,381, Ratnapura and Kegalle had 1,105 and 731 respectively. The number of COVID-19 cases in the Galle District was 1,020. Also, Kurunegala and Ampara 942 and 839 cases respectively.
The total number of COVID-19 infected from the Brandix Minuwangoda facility and the Peliyagoda Fish Market clusters have mounted to 42,413.
The total death toll by yesterday morning had risen to 264. The NOCPCO said 75 persons had arrived from Saudi Arabia and another 29 arrived from Qatar. Another 326 persons were scheduled to arrive from the Maldives, China, Pakistan and Kuwait.