Islamabad approaches Beijing for more vaccine


As over 3,000 new Covid-19 cases were reported for the sixth consecutive day on Tuesday and the number of active cases doubled in less than three weeks, Pakistan has contacted China for more vaccine.

Federal Minister for Plan­ning and Development Asad Umar said that Pakistan would receive its first purchase of over one million doses of Chinese Sinopharm and Cansino vaccines by the end of March.

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi held a telephone conversation with Chinese State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

Mr Qureshi underscored that Pakistan had devised an elaborate plan for vaccination across the country as part of its endeavours to combat the pandemic. To reinforce the country’s capacity to effectively and expeditiously fight the pandemic, Mr Qureshi discussed with his Chinese counterpart supply of Covid-19 vaccine from China to Pakistan during March-April.

Foreign Minister Wang Yi reassured that China would continue to firmly support Pakistan in its fight against the pandemic and accord highest priority to the requirements of its time-tested friend.

Active cases double in less than three weeks as over 3,000 Covid-19 cases are reported on sixth consecutive day

Mr Qureshi also expressed gratitude to China for earlier gifting Pakistan 1.5 million doses of vaccine, underlining that it had played a pivotal role in protecting precious human lives.

He thanked for Premier Li Keqiang’s thoughtful message wishing Prime Minister Imran Khan speedy recovery from Covid-19. Wang Yi also wished swiftest recovery to Prime Minister Khan.

Both 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.

An official of the Ministry of National Health Services, requesting not to be named, said that the donation from China would further strengthen the stocks of Pakistan.

“Meanwhile we will also get free vaccine from Covax, an international alliance which has pledged to provide vaccine for 20 per cent population of Pakistan. We have allocated $100 million for procurement of vaccine and procured vaccine will also reach Pakistan soon,” he said.

Planning and Development Minister Asad Umar said that Pakistan would receive its first purchase of over one million doses of Chinese Sinopharm and Cansino Covid-19 vaccines by the end of March.

This will be the first consignment of Covid-19 vaccines the government has purchased from any manufacturer.

“We have purchased 1 million and 60,000 doses of Sinopharm and Cansino vaccines and will receive the consignment before the end of March,” he said.

Mr Umar said the government was in talks with the same companies to purchase seven million more doses of the vaccines.

Meanwhile, it is the third time that the number of active cases has been increasing in Pakistan.

According to the data shared by the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC), on March 6 the number of active cases was 17,352 which rose to 34,535 on Tuesday.

During the first wave of the pandemic, number of active cases surpassed the figure of 50,000 in June 2020 but later it started decreasing and finally dropped to less than 6,000 in September last year. Then again number of active cases started increasing and in December it surpassed the figure of 50,000. Restrictions were announced and number of cases started decreasing and reached around 16,000 in January 2021. Then educational institutions were reopened and restrictions were lifted due to which number of active cases has started increasing for the third time.

The NCOC data showed that as many as 3,270 cases and 72 deaths were reported in a single day. As many as 64 persons died in hospitals and eight out of hospitals.

While 334 ventilators were occupied across the country, Islamabad’s 57pc, Multan’s 52pc, Lahore’s 52pc and Peshawar’s 32pc ventilators were in use. The data of oxygen beds showed that Gujrat’s 86pc, Peshawar’s 62pc, Islamabad’s 51pc and Rawalpindi’s 37pc beds were occupied.

As many as 633,741 cases have been detected across the country of which 585,271 people recovered and 13,935 could not survive.

The data shows that the number of hospitalised patients is also increasing. Last month there were less than 2,000 hospitalised patients but on Tuesday 3,019 patients were hospitalised in different parts of the country.

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