‘Depending on vaccination progress, full re-opening of country in September’


If all under 30 eligible to receive the Covid vaccine are vaccinated by the end of September, then the restrictions could be relaxed and the country could be reopened, said the Head of the National Operation Centre for Prevention of COVID-19 Outbreak (NOCPCO) Gen. Shavendra Silva.

He expressed confidence that all those eligible over the age of 30 could be vaccinated by September with at least one dose.

“But, if the situation changes, then we will have to reconsider. This is a virus and we cannot guarantee it, as the situation cannot be predicted. Therefore, it cannot be confirmed at present that the country will be completely reopened by September,” he noted

“However, in the event the total eligible population is administered with at least one dose of the Covid vaccine, then there is a possibility of completely reopening the country,” he also said.

“If there is no major change in the situation, the country is expected to be fully open by September,” Commander of the Army General Shavendra Silva said.

The Head of NOCPCO said that so far the country has received 8,596,000 vaccine doses and so far around 5.7 million doses of the vaccines have been administered.

“We had initially decided to vaccinate all adults over the age of 30. Currently, of the population in Sri Lanka there are around 11.5 million adults over 30 and those above the age of 18 stands at around 14 million. Initially we administered the AstraZeneca vaccine to 1,264,000 eligible persons. We are also expecting another 1.48 million doses of AstraZeneca from Japan. In addition we also have to receive the vaccinations under Covax amounting to around 1.7 million vaccines. This amount of vaccines is expected to be received by the 22nd of this month,” he highlighted.

He also said that the authorities are working under a policy to administer at least the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to the whole country by the end of September.

He noted that the President had directed to ensure that all eligible adults over the age of 30 are vaccinated with at least one dose by the end of July in the Colombo District.

“Currently we have received around 8.5 million doses of vaccines and we are expecting altogether around 17 million vaccines by the end of next month. Considering the expected vaccines and those eligible to receive the vaccines, we expect to complete the first round of the vaccines and also administer a considerable portion of the second dose as well by the end of August or latest September. The government’s plan is to complete the expected vaccination doses by the end of September. Thereafter we will commence the vaccination of those over 18 years,” he pointed out.

The Commander, explaining the reason for the Pfizer vaccine being sent to be administered to fishermen in the Mannar are adjacent areas, said that this was discussed by the President and medical experts and decided taking into consideration the contact between Sri Lankan and Indian fishermen in this region.

He also added that around 3,000 students entering foreign universities have been administered the Pfizer vaccine as per requirements of the countries they are travelling to on education.