Switzerland said it expresses solidarity with Sri Lanka in its fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and yesterday delivered over half a million antigen tests, 50 ventilators, 150 oxygen concentrators as well as other medical examination materials worth of Rs. 800 million.
The Swiss aid is intended to benefit the population throughout the country, while witnessing the concrete sign of friendship and longer term collaboration between the two countries.
In view of the serious health situation in Sri Lanka and in response to a request for assistance from the Sri Lankan authorities, Swiss Humanitarian Aid immediately set up a crisis team including the Swiss Embassy in Colombo to provide Sri Lanka with medical assistance in the fight against COVID-19 as quickly as possible. Taking into account the needs reported from Sri Lanka, a list of humanitarian aid supplies that can be delivered by Switzerland was drawn up.
Yesterday morning, a plane with 16 tons of material on board landed in Colombo from Zurich. The aid shipment includes 50 ventilators provided by the Swiss Army Pharmacy, 150 oxygen concentrators, and other medical supplies (including equipment to measure oxygen saturation). In addition, the Swiss Ministry of Health is providing more than half a million antigen tests.
The material will be received in Colombo by the Ministry of Health and then distributed to various locations, following the principle of equitable distribution throughout the country which would address the medical and humanitarian needs in the different regions.
Switzerland already supported Sri Lanka in the fight against Covid-19 last year to the tune of around LKR 220 million. In October 2020, Switzerland had financed a PCR testing facility at the Colombo airport and provided 39,000 test kits.
The aim of this contribution was to support the repatriation of Sri Lankans, particularly the migrant workers who had lost their jobs abroad due to COVID-19. For another Rs. 22 million, the Swiss Embassy supports local partners in providing COVID emergency aid to the poorest and especially low-income families.
Yesterday’s delivery to Sri Lanka is the third Swiss aid shipment to South Asia within a month. In recent weeks, Swiss Humanitarian Aid, which is affiliated to the Swiss Foreign Ministry, has already sent 13 tons of aid to India and 30 tons of aid to Nepal. Swiss Humanitarian Aid is constantly monitoring the development of the health situation in the world against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic and is ready to provide support as far as possible and upon request.