On July 12, 2021, in partnership with UNICEF, Korean Ambassador Santhush Woonjin JEONG officially handed over USD 230,000 worth of anti-COVID 19 face masks to the Ministry of Health as a contribution to the ongoing response to COVID-19 in Sri Lanka.
The consignment of 113,625 facemasks was handed to Lakshmi Somatunga, the Additional Secretary for Public health Services, on behalf of the Minister of Health, Pavithra Wanniarachchi by Ambassador Santhush Woonjin JEONG and Christian Skoog, UNICEF Representative to Sri Lanka at the UNICEF Colombo office premises.
At the handover ceremony, Ambassador Santhush commended the invaluable efforts of UNICEF and the Health Ministry of Sri Lanka to combat COVID-19.
“Korea will always stand with Sri Lanka in the battle against COVID-19. The pandemic requires international cooperation and solidarity. No country is strong enough to fight this alone. That is why the Republic of Korea is pleased to provide anti-covid items to help strengthen the government of Sri Lanka’s national response toward the pandemic through our partnership with UNICEF,” said Korean Ambassador Santhush Woonjin JEONG.
He also said, “I am sure that we can work together to overcome this pandemic. Korea and Sri Lanka have been true friends to each other. I hope we can work together to overcome this pandemic. As the Korean Ambassador to Sri Lanka, like the meaning of my Sri Lankan name ‘Santhush’, I would really like to carry happiness to Sri Lanka. I love Sri Lanka and I will closely work with all of you to achieve our common goals”.
He mentioned that the unwavering cooperation in these tough times is symbolic of the true friendship between our two countries.
UNICEF Representative Christian Skoog appreciated the donation of facemasks which is the result of the strong partnership between the Republic of Korea and UNICEF. He recalled that Korea donated high-quality Korea-made face masks in partnership with UNICEF during his tenure in Mexico, to protect the healthcare workers on the frontlines.
This donation will contribute positively towards protecting those key frontline workers as all partners work to contain and end the pandemic.
The Health Minister, Pavithra Wanniarachchi, in her remarks delivered by Dr. Somatunga said she would like to express appreciation for the support of UNICEF and the Republic of Korea for this donation. She thanked Ambassador Santhush Woonjin JEONG for the generous gesture of goodwill amidst COVID-19 and stated that mutual assistance has demonstrated by working together, we can save lives and help improve services to respond urgent needs. She further appreciated the longstanding partnership between Sri Lanka and Korea.
Since the onset of COVID-19 in 2020, the Republic of Korea has stood in solidarity with Sri Lanka in its battle against COVID-19. Korea has worked closely with UNICEF to uplift the education facilities amid the COVID-19 pandemic in Sri Lanka.
In July 2020, The Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) and UNICEF signed a grant agreement to donate USD $600,000 to fund and support the Ministry of Education’s critical response to COVID-19 in the education sector. The Korean government donated COVID-19 Test Kits amounting to the sum of USD 300,000 to the government of Sri Lanka last year.
Moreover, The Korean Embassy in Sri Lanka has shown its thankfulness by donating face masks in 2020 to the Sri Lanka Army and Police who have dedicated themselves to protecting people in Sri Lanka including Korean residents amid COVID-19.
Furthermore, the Korean government has decided to donate USD 500,000 worth of anti-COVID-19 items to Sri Lanka this year too.