Gift from China  

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FOREIGN Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Thursday announced that China has promised to provide 500,000 doses of a coronavirus vaccine to Pakistan by January 31. In a video message after a phone call with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi, Qureshi said China offered Islamabad to send an airplane and airlift the vaccines. The Minister said he held a detailed conversation with the Chinese Foreign Minister in which he discussed “Pakistan’s requirements”, after Prime Minister Imran Khan had directed him to increase interaction with Beijing “considering the sensitivity of the situation”.
The nature and timing of the Chinese offer is very significant as our trusted friend has committed to providing half a million doses free of cost and that too at a time when vaccination is becoming a crucial issue in the wake of similar drives elsewhere in the world. About sixty million people of different countries have already received the first dose but Pakistan was finding it difficult to initiate the campaign at the earliest due to difficulties in procurement. It was because of these problems that the officials concerned were hinting at availability of the Covid-19 vaccines after the first quarter of the current year. Therefore, it is good news for people of Pakistan that the Chinese gift of 500,000 vaccines would arrive in the country by the end of January and administration of the doses now depends on the ability of our departments concerned. The early availability of the vaccine would mean that the priority category i.e. health workers can be given doses instantly and they would be in a position to concentrate on their professional responsibilities with ease of mind. China never disappointed Pakistan and came to its rescue on all critical junctures of its history. China was the first country to have sent a delegation of doctors and health staff to assist Pakistan in its efforts to check the spread of the virus during the first wave and also provided required medical equipment including ventilators and diagnostic kits to meet the emergent situation. It is also worth mentioning that apart from the initial gift, China has also committed to providing additional 1.1 million doses of vaccine by the end of February as requested by Pakistan. People of Pakistan would always remember the sincere cooperation of China in saving lives in the midst of the second wave of the deadly virus.

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