Covid vaccination in Sri Lanka (representative image). Photograph:( Reuters )
Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa ordered frontline workers and tourism staff to be given a third booster shot of Covid vaccine next month. The development comes as the country is looking to reopen travel industry and revive economy. More than one million people will be given shots of the Pfizer vaccine from November 1
To reopen travel industry and revive economy, Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on Friday ordered frontline workers and tourism staff to be given a third booster shot of Covid vaccine next month.
In a statement, the president's office said, more than one million people will be given third shots of the Pfizer vaccine from November 1. These people include security personnel, healthcare staff and tourism industry workers.
Till now, Sri Lanka has fully vaccinated over 60% of its 22 million people.
The country, which depends on international tourism, partially rolled back Covid restrictions late last month by allowing fully vaccinated travellers with a negative test to enter without quarantine.
From $4.3 billion in 2018 to just $33 million in first eight months of year, the country’s earnings from tourism plummeted.
Reviving the industry is crucial for restoring reserves, which is around $2.6 billion at the end of September.
Strong interest has been shown by travellers belonging to countries, such as Russia, Britain, France and Germany, and international flights will also be increased from next month, said Tourism Minister Prasanna Ranatunga.
"The target is to have a strong winter season from November to March or April of next year,” Ranatunga told Reuters.
(With inputs from agencies)