India gifts 10-tonne consignment of essential medicines to Lanka

09:28 AM Apr 08, 2020 | PTI |
Colombo: India on Tuesday, April 7 gifted a 10-tonne consignment of essential life saving medicines to Sri Lanka to help it battle with the health crisis, which has infected over 180 people and killed six in the country. The health experts in Sri Lanka have warned that the country will experience a spike in the number of the confirmed COVID-19 cases by the end of this month. The medicines provide by India were requested by Government of Sri Lanka. The consignment was brought to Sri Lanka by an Air India special charter flight on Tuesday, April 7. This is yet another manifestation of India's unwavering commitment to stand with Sri Lanka, in rain and in shine. Despite its own domestic challenges and constraints, India has always believed in sharing its resources and expertise with its friends and partners, the Indian embassy said in a statement. At the initiative of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a SAARC leaders video conference was held on March 15 to discuss ways to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. India pledged USD 10 million to the SAARC COVID-19 Emergency Fund. Subsequently, a video conference of health professionals in SAARC countries was held on March 26. Ministry of Health of India has also started offering online training sessions for health professionals in SAARC countries. SAARC Disaster Management Centre (SDMC) situated in Gandhinagar, Gujarat has developed a dedicated webpage pertaining to the COVID-19 situation in SAARC Member States [//]. "Sri Lanka has been a valuable partner in all these initiatives," the Indian mission said. The Sri Lankan doctors' trade union has warned that the number of positive cases are projected to rise within 48 days of the first confirmed case. Sri Lanka's first case was detected on March 11. The doctors say the pandemic spread would be extended in the country at least until end of June. Sri Lanka experienced a relatively slow spread of the coronavirus pandemic. It took nearly a week for the case load to be doubled from 50 to 100. Sri Lanka has 180 cases of infections currently with six deaths. Around 42 people have recovered. The doctors' union said there are 42,000 people who had come in contact with the positive cases confirmed so far. They recommend tests to separate the infected with a 30 per cent who may not have proved positive despite carrying the disease. The union said the island's health service capacity would be badly stretched if not checked now and this could lead to about 2,500 confirmed cases at the peak. Sri Lanka is currently observing a lockdown with key districts being placed under continuous curfew. Immigration authorities on Tuesday suspended the entry of all foreign nationals into the country until further notice.

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