Australia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Marise Payne, announced on 21 May that Australia will provide AUD 5.5 million in funding to Sri Lanka as part of a new Health Security initiative to support the Sri Lankan Government’s COVID-19 response. This new contribution is part of an assistance package to support Australia’s Indian Ocean neighbours to minimise the impacts of COVID-19.

The new initiative will assist the Sri Lankan Government to protect its frontline workers against COVID-19 and expand the capacity of its health system to prepare and respond to the current outbreak and pandemics into the future. Australia will work closely with the Ministry of Health and UN partners to ensure much-needed assistance reaches those who need it most.

Australian High Commissioner David Holly said “Australia wants to keep our shared Indian Ocean region safe, stable, prosperous and resilient. We recognise the challenging COVID-19 situation that Sri Lanka is currently facing, and we stand ready to support our neighbour Sri Lanka. We hope this new package of support will assist in containing the spread of COVID-19, and to manage threats to regional health security in the future”.

Australia’s overall package of support to Sri Lanka’s COVID-19 response totals AUD 11.7 million (LKR 1,787 million) and is focused on bolstering health security, promoting social cohesion and stability for Sri Lankan communities and supporting economic recovery. Globally, Australia is working to increase the supply of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines, including through an $80 million commitment to the COVAX Advance Market Commitment, of which Sri Lanka is a beneficiary country.