The aircraft left Zurich on Monday (07), with 16 tonnes of supplies worth CHF 3.5 million on board. In addition to the 50 ventilators provided by the Armed Forces Pharmacy, the supplies included 150 oxygen concentrators, half a million antigen tests and other medical equipment (such as devices for measuring oxygen levels).
The consignment touched town at Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) in the early hours of Tuesday (08).
'It will be received in Colombo by representatives of the Sri Lankan Ministry of Health and then distributed to the different locations. The Swiss embassy in Sri Lanka is in close contact with the local authorities to ensure that the supplies are distributed fairly and in line with humanitarian principles.', the Embassy of Switzerland in Colombo said in a statement.
The statement said the Swiss Humanitarian Aid had immediately set up a crisis team including the Swiss Embassy in Colombo to provide Sri Lanka with medical assistance in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic as quickly as possible, in view of the serious health situation in the island nation and in response to a request for assistance from the Sri Lankan authorities.
Last year, Switzerland also contributed CHF 1 million to Sri Lanka's efforts to combat COVID-19. In October 2020, it funded a device for PCR testing in Colombo airport and provided 39,000 test kits – with the aim of helping Sri Lankan migrant workers who had lost their jobs abroad because of COVID-19 to return home. The Swiss embassy has also given CHF 100,000 to local partners providing emergency COVID-19 aid to the neediest people, especially low-income families.
This consignment to Sri Lanka is the third Swiss Humanitarian Aid supply mission to South Asia within a month.