Pakistan on Tuesday reached out to its all-weather ally China for ensuring the supply of the coronavirus vaccine, as the country is grappling to contain the third wave of the pandemic that has also hit Prime Minister Imran Khan and his wife.
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi held a telephone conversation with his Chinese counterpart and State Councilor Wang Yi, underscoring that Pakistan had devised an elaborate plan of vaccination across the country as part of its efforts to combat the pandemic, according to the Foreign Office (FO).
“To reinforce Pakistan’s capacity to effectively and expeditiously fight the pandemic, Foreign Minister Qureshi discussed with his Chinese counterpart the supply of COVID-19 vaccine from China to Pakistan during March-April 2021,” the FO said.
Foreign Minister Wang reassured that China will continue to firmly support Pakistan in its fight against the pandemic and accord highest priority to the requirements of its time-tested friend, according to FO.
Qureshi also expressed gratitude to China for earlier gifting Pakistan 1.5 million doses of the Chinese vaccine, underlining that it had played a pivotal role in protecting precious human lives.
China on Wednesday gifted another 500,000 doses of Sinopharm vaccine to Pakistan, the Dawn reported.
He thanked Prime Minister Li Keqiang’s message wishing Prime Minister Imran Khan speedy recovery from COVID-19. Wang also wished swift recovery to Pakistan premier Khan.
Khan, 68, and his wife Bushra Bibi, 47, tested positive on Saturday for the COVID-19, two days after he got the first shot of a vaccine.
Both the Foreign Ministers reaffirmed their resolve to further deepen Pakistan-China “All-Weather Strategic Co-operative Partnership”. The two sides also agreed to maintain high-level exchanges.
The exchange came as Pakistan recorded another 3,270 new cases in the last 24 hours, taking the national tally of infections to 633,741, according to the Ministry of National Health Services.
Seventy two people died during the period, with the total number of COVID-19 deaths jumping to 13,935 in the country. A total of 2,485 are in critical condition.
Pakistan on Monday announced new stringent measures, including restrictions on commercial activities to control the spread of the virus.
In Pakistan, COVID-19 vaccination is so far being carried out through the Adult Vaccination Counters (AVCs). However, the government’s response to procure vaccines remained very slow and it is largely eyeing donations to vaccinate the increasingly vulnerable population.
Pakistan, with a population of 220 million, last month allowed private firms to import coronavirus vaccines and agreed to exempt them from price caps.
The Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (Drap) last week notified the procedure for determining the maximum retail prices of imported COVID-19 vaccines in the country.
Official sources said that the maximum sale price of Sputnik V Russian vaccine will be fixed at Rs 8,449 for two doses and China’s Convidecia at Rs 4,225 per injection.