Staff members transfer face masks donated to bus drivers by the Chinese embassy in Sri Lanka in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Aug. 17, 2020. (Xinhua/Tang Lu)
The Chinese embassy in Sri Lanka has donated face masks and COVID-19 prevention posters for public buses belonging to the Sri Lanka Transport Board (SLTB) amidst a pandemic which has so far infected over 2,800 people in the island country, a statement from the embassy said Tuesday.
The donation was handed over Monday by Charge D'Affaires of the Chinese embassy in Sri Lanka Hu Wei to SLTB Chairman, Kingsley Ranawaka in the presence of health ministry officials and bus drivers.
Following the hand-over ceremony, the posters which were printed in Sinhala and Tamil languages were posted on the buses for the convenience of the commuters.
Ranawaka said that thousands of buses operating under the SLTB were the most reliable forms of public transportation in the country. Bus drivers, bus conductors and all other staff commuted with thousands of passengers daily and therefore they urgently needed to step up epidemic prevention measures.
"We sincerely thank China for their valuable support," Ranwaka said.
Bus driver Nalaka Priyadarshana, 34, said that these masks would help him and his crew to stay safe from the COVID-19 as thousands of passengers traveled in his bus daily.
His bus also had a hand sanitizer fixed at the entrance, he said, adding that the posters which outlined safety measures against the COVID-19 would educate the public who were using his bus.
Dr. Uthpala Amarasinghe, Consultant Community Physician of the Health Promotion Bureau of the Ministry of Health, said that Sri Lanka's Health Department had established a comprehensive public health network across the country which was an important factor in Sri Lanka's successful control of the pandemic.
On behalf of the Health Promotion Bureau, she thanked China for its strong support and said the 100,000 donated posters would also be put up in public places such as grassroots health centers, bus stations, and markets.
"China's friendship has spread to every corner of the country," Amarasinghe said.