Entire population vaccinated by early next year: Army Chief

Wednesday, 9 June 2021 00:25 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

  • Believes vaccination program will help SL's economy leapfrog 
  • Says resilience in pandemic is essentially resilience in economy too
  • Calls on investors to consider economic resilience with uninterrupted manufacturing operations
  • Assures SL is safe for tourism; plans underway to make ‘bio-secure bubble’ for leisure, sports, MICE and diplomatic visits

Army Commander Gen. Shavendra Silva

National Operation Centre for Prevention of COVID-19 Outbreak (NOCPCO) Head and Army Commander Gen. Shavendra Silva

yesterday assured that the entire population will be vaccinated by early next year, a development which should it come to pass would drastically help Sri Lanka’s efforts to take large strides forward economically.

“We expect to shield the entire population from COVID-19 by the end of 2021 to early 2022, allowing the workforce, economic pillars, economic counterparts and general public to run the country for advancement. We have effectively managed the first and second wave of the COVID-19 and we are now in the process of controlling the third wave successfully,” he said at the second day of the virtually held Sri Lanka Investment Forum. 

Entire population

He said the vaccination program, the main focus of the Government, is being carried out throughout the country with cordial diplomatic ties too enabling securing of vaccines.

“COVID-19 is not merely a health issue. Managing the pandemic is essentially managing the economy and livelihood as well. Therefore, resilience in a pandemic is essentially the resilience in the economy too,” Silva emphasised.

The Army Commander said the Government never underestimated the importance of local and international economic activities. 

Noting that reinstating normality in terms of the economy, livelihoods, as well as social aspects amidst the pandemic was of paramount importance, the Army Commander said it was imperative that the country be brought to a certain condition in which socio-economic activities could be continued, with the best practices, under minimum regulations.

He also said no major development and infrastructure projects were delayed due to the pandemic nor was the health and safety of the workers compromised under the circumstances.

Acknowledging the pandemic management strategy which includes the uninterrupted manufacturing operations of industries, factories, export businesses and other essential services to ensure socioeconomic stability, Silva said that it had been the strength of Sri Lanka which investors must give serious thought to for their future investments.

“We have emphasised on improving domestic products, achieving self-sufficiency in food, expanding value added exports of goods and services despite the pandemic. The Government has encouraged and empowered the SMEs as well as large scale business with financial, legal and technological assistance,” he said.

The Army Chief also said Sri Lanka is a safe destination for tourists, adding that they were not neglected despite the pandemic. “We are in the process of developing and improving the ‘bio-secure bubble’ for leisure, sports, and diplomatic visits. We are now focusing on enhancing Sri Lanka's potential in facilitating MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions) tourism,” he added.