The Indian naval ship Shakti with 100 tons of liquid medical oxygen reached Sri Lanka on Sunday to help the island nation fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
The country’s port minister, Rohitha Abeygunawardena, was here in port to receive the cargo and welcomed India’s help in containing the coronavirus pandemic.
The Indian naval ship was used to deliver oxygen in response to a personal request from Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa for an urgent delivery of liquid medical oxygen (LMO), the Indian High Commission said here.
Camaraderie and coordination between the Marines and various other stakeholders in India and Sri Lanka was demonstrated when the Sri Lankan naval vessel Shakthi with 40 tons of LMO on board began its voyage from Chennai to Colombo at about the same time as INS Shakti.
“It was a rare case that two Shakti ships began their voyage from two different ports in India to the same destination almost simultaneously for a common purpose,” it said.
India’s aid to Sri Lanka during the pandemic was diverse and needs-based. Almost 26 tons of basic medical care were given away from April to May 2020. A $ 400 million currency swap was deployed in July 2020.
The first shipment of vaccines, donated by India in January 2021, enabled Sri Lanka to roll out its vaccination program ahead of schedule, the Indian High Commission said.
Sri Lanka is currently experiencing a rapid increase in infections.
The death toll exceeded 7,000 with nearly 200 fatalities, health officials said on Sunday.
According to officials, the need for oxygen has increased 30 percent to cope with the rapid increase in the number of fresh patients.
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