China to extend $500mn ‘assistance’ to Sri Lanka

50 cases have been recorded so far

March 18, 2020 10:55 pm | Updated 10:56 pm IST - COLOMBO

China will extend financial assistance amounting to $500 million to Sri Lanka to help the island nation combat COVID19 that has affected 50 persons so far. One patient has recovered, authorities said.

According to a press statement from the Chinese Embassy here, the Finance Ministry of Sri Lanka and the China Development Bank (CDB) on Wednesday signed the agreement, with “big concessional terms on both interest and tenure”, at Temple Trees, the official residence of Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa.

“The facility was urgently requested by the Sri Lankan government and supported by the Chinese side, under current financial situation in Sri Lanka and the background of fighting COVID-19 pandemic with all-out efforts,” the Chinese Embassy’s statement said.

The maturity period of 10 years, the statement said, is the “longest tenure” of financing facility for Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka and China enjoy strong ties, including development cooperation in key infrastructure projects in the island.

In February, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa gifted a consignment of Ceylon Tea to the Chinese Embassy, to be sent to those affected by COVID-19 in China.

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