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January 22, 2021

China to gift 500,000 Covid jabs by 31st: Qureshi

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January 22, 2021

Ag Agencies

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan is set to receive its first batch —half a million doses — of the coronavirus vaccine from China by the end of this month, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said, which will be provided by the ally at no charge and as a goodwill gesture.

Speaking to media here about a telephone conversation he had with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi, Qureshi said he was informed Pakistan could air lift the vaccines.

Qureshi said he told his Chinese counterpart that Pakistan requires 1.1 million doses of the vaccine in view of its large population, adding that the Chinese side promised to make the required quantity of the vaccine available by the end of next month.

The foreign minister said China has also agreed to manufacture its Covid vaccine in Pakistan. “The first cache of the vaccine is a grant from China to be provided to Pakistan free of cost as a goodwill gesture,” he added.

Terming it a “welcome development” amid the coronavirus situation, he said: “This is very good news that we have received from our friend China.” “In view of the strong strategic relations, China has deemed Pakistan as the first country to be supplied with the Covid-19 vaccine,” he said.

The foreign minister said Pakistan had successfully fought the challenges of coronavirus and lauded the performance of National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) in that regard. He mentioned that the clinical trials of Covid-19 vaccine were effectively being carried out in the country, with an objective to launch production at later stages.

The development came as Pakistan’s daily coronavirus fatalities exceeded the 50 mark once again, while infections in a 24-hour-period were 2,363 — after six days of recording sub-2,000 cases, amid the public’s ongoing indifference to precautions. Total Covid cases were 527,146. Active infections stood at 35,293, while 54 corona patients lost their lives, according to the latest update issued by the NCOC. After the latest fatalities, Pakistan’s coronavirus death toll was 11,157.

At least 2,820 corona patients were admitted in hospitals across the country, 324 of whom were on ventilators. The most ventilators were occupied in Multan with 49 per cent, followed by Islamabad 40 per cent, Peshawar 30 per cent and Lahore 37 per cent.

Peshawar was leading in oxygen beds’ occupancy with 45 per cent, followed by Karachi 39 per cent, Multan 38 per cent, and Rawalpindi 26 per cent.

Some 43,744 tests were conducted across the country —13,632 in Sindh, 16,635 in Punjab, 6,234 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), 5,798 in Islamabad, 584 in Balochistan, 419 in Gilgit-Baltistan, and 442 in Azad Jammu and Kashmir.