Thursday December 02, 2021

Extraordinary response to coronavirus stressed

May 04, 2020

Islamabad : We all have to change the way we live and work as we battle the biggest crisis of our generation in the shape of coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, which has impacted every country around the world, said British High Commissioner to Pakistan Dr Christian Turner.

“These extraordinary challenges call for an extraordinary global response. It is at such difficult times that friends must stand together — and there is no better example of international friendship than the deep ties between the UK and Pakistan," he said in a statement.

The envoy said in Pakistan, the UK was repurposing its multi-million pound DFID aid programme to focus on Covid-19 that included providing immediate health and humanitarian assistance to detect the virus, boost local health systems, and protect communities.

"Just as all countries are protecting health systems and managing the economic impact of lockdowns, we also recognise the deep impact that Covid-19 has had on the economy of Pakistan, affecting the poorest in society including those dependent on daily wages," he said.

Dr Turner said following Prime Minister Imran Khan’s appeal, the UK was instrumental in convincing G20 finance ministers to include Pakistan among the countries eligible for a suspension in debt payments this year. “We are encouraging other financial institutions to increase support for Pakistan,” he said.

The envoy said the UK was one of the largest supporters of the World Health Organisation, including in Pakistan, and to Gavi, the Global Vaccine Alliance, which distributed vaccines in the poorest countries.

He said the UK had recognised this by pledging £1.65 billion this week to Gavi to help keep immunisation programmes going across the world, as well as helping countries like Pakistan respond to the pandemic. “This pledge will help protect up to 75m children in Pakistan and around the world against deadly diseases,” he said.

Dr Turner said the UK and Pakistan stood together in the current difficult times and he was confident of Pakistan’s capability to beat the coronavirus.

He also paid tribute to all those in the UK and Pakistan, particularly front-line healthcare workers, who are working day in, day out to protect lives, safeguard communities and fight the virus.