The Latest: Sri Lankan officials say vaccinations advancing

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FILE - In this Jan. 29, 2021, file photo, Sri Lankan nursing staff administer COVID-19 vaccines to front-line health workers in Colombo, Sri Lanka. India has gifted neighbors, including Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Nepal, with more than 5 million doses. (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena, File)

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — Sri Lankan health officials said on Saturday that more than half of the health workers and frontline military and police officers have so far been vaccinated against COVID-19.

Sri Lanka last week began inoculating it’s frontline health workers, military troops and police officers against COVID-19 amid warnings that the sector faces a collapse with a number of health staff being infected with the new coronavirus.

The ministry had planned to first vaccinate 150,000 health workers and selected 115,000 military and police personnel.

By Saturday, 156,310 had been given with COVISHIELD vaccine. India had donated 500,000 does of Oxford-AstraZenica vaccine also known as the COVISHIELD which is the only vaccine approved by the regulatory body in Sri Lanka.

Health ministry says Sri Lanka has ordered 18 millions doses of COVISHIELD vaccines and also had asked to allocate 2 million doses of Pfizer-BioNtech. Besides, China has promised to provide 300,000 shots of Sinopharm vaccine this month.

Sri Lanka has witnessed a fresh outbreak of the disease since last year’s October when two clusters — one centered on a garment factory and other on the fish market — emerged in the capital Colombo and it’s suburbs.

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THE VIRUS OUTBREAK: