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India welcomes Sri Lanka’s emergency use approval of Covishield vaccine against COVID-19

Delhi: Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan and the Maldives have already received India’s COVID-19 vaccines under grant assistance in sync with its “Neighbourhood First” policy. 

India’s High Commission here took to Twitter to welcome the emergency use approval by the Sri Lankan government. 

“Welcome emergency use approval of COVISHIELD vaccines by Government of Sri Lanka. This clears the way for scheduling delivery of the vaccine from #India to #lka,” it said in a tweet. 

Earlier on Friday, State Minister of Pharmaceuticals Supply Channa Jayasumana told reporters that the National Medicines Regulatory Authority has given regulatory clearance for the emergency use of Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine. 

The Attorney General’s office has announced that clarifications have been sought on the purchase agreement of the vaccine from India. 

India this week announced that it will send COVID-19 vaccines under grant assistance to Sri Lanka and seven other countries — Bhutan, the Maldives, Bangladesh, Nepal, Myanmar and Seychelles, Afghanistan and Mauritius. 

Supplies to Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and Mauritius will commence after confirmation of necessary regulatory clearances, it said on January 19. 

While the Oxford-AstraZeneca’s Covishield is being manufactured by the Serum Institute, the Covaxin doses are being produced by Bharat Biotech. 

The approval came as Sri Lanka’s Director General of Health Services Asela Gunawardena on Friday said that it will conduct COVID-19 immunisation trial-runs on Saturday to help officials put in place an effective inoculation programme when the vaccines are made available for use. 

The vaccination drills will be conducted at two populous Colombo suburbs — Piliyandala and Ragama. 

The coronavirus has so far killed 276 people, along with 56,076 confirmed cases, in the island nation. 

Gunawardena said over 52,000 of the total cases have been reported after October last year, part of the second wave of cases. 

He said in the last 24 hours, 887 new cases were reported, which is the highest number in daily cases.

By PTI

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