Coronavirus surge: India sends 150 tonnes of oxygen to Sri Lanka

Colombo: India has sent about 150 tonnes more oxygen to Sri Lanka to help the island nation combat the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sri Lanka on Friday extended its nationwide lockdown till September 13 amidst a surge in the number of COVID-19 deaths and mounting pressure on the healthcare system.

Lifeline from India to Sri Lanka close to 150 tonnes of oxygen from Vizag and Chennai reached the shores of Colombo,” the Indian High Commission in Colombo tweeted on Saturday.

India since mid last month has been sending urgent supplies of oxygen to Sri Lanka following a personal request for assistance by the Sri Lankan President Rajapaksa, it said.

Indian naval ship Shakti in August delivered 100 tonnes of liquid medical oxygen to Sri Lanka to help the island nation.

India’s assistance to Sri Lanka during the pandemic has been varied and need-based.

Close to 26 tonnes of essential medical supplies were gifted in April-May 2020. A currency swap of USD 400 million was provided in July 2020.

The first consignment of vaccines, which was donated by India in January 2021, enabled Sri Lanka to roll out its vaccination programme ahead of the schedule, the Indian High Commission said.

Sri Lanka is currently experiencing a rapid rise in infections.

As of Thursday, over 9,600 people have died due to the coronavirus and the total number of infections stood at 447,757.

Sri Lanka, which has witnessed a series of lockdowns and curfews to contain the spread of COVID-19 in the country, has been impacted in terms of its economy.

The tourism sector, which generates a huge quantum of revenue for the island nation, has seen a drastic fall.

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