ISLAMABAD: A team of Chinese health experts reached Pakistan on Saturday to assess the preventive measures taken by the government so far to fight the COVID-19.
The team will remain in Pakistan for two weeks.
Pakistan and China continue to collaborate closely and coordinate relief assistance to counter COVID-19.
“China once again has shown to the world that they are friends of Pakistan, they care for us and we stand together in difficult times. We thank the Government of China for sending a team of medical experts and relief assistance including test kits, masks, ventilators, protective suits and support to build an isolation hospital,” said Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi.
He was speaking at the Islamabad International Airport where he together with Foreign Secretary Sohail welcomed the Chinese team.
Pakistan says the “All-weather strategic cooperative partnership has acquired greater strength and depth in recent years guided by the shared vision of Prime Minister Imran Khan and President Xi Jinping”.
The flight which came from Xinjiang also brought 50,000 masks for the federal and Sindh government.
So far, China has donated 12,000 test kits, 300,000 masks, 10,000 protective suits and US$4m, which goes toward building an isolation hospital though the Foreign Office has not revealed details about the hospital.
“I was in China to express my solidarity with the Chinese people and today I’m here to receive the medical team. We are grateful, this is a unique relationship. And such times tell us how close we are to each other,” said Qureshi.
The foreign office says a considerable amount of donations from private sources from China has also arrived in Pakistan.
Chinese billionaire Jack Ma’s Foundation and Ali Baba Foundation sent another aircraft carrying medical supplies to Pakistan. Earlier they donated 50,000 test kits and 5,00,000 face masks.
The Chinese embassy in Pakistan said two tonnes of supplies worth Rs67 million were delivered to Karachi, including face masks, test kits, ventilators, and personal protective equipment.
Earlier, Foreign Minister Qureshi held a telephonic conversation with the British Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Dominic Raab to discuss matters related to the global outbreak of coronavirus and prospects of enhanced bilateral cooperation to jointly tackle the pandemic.
According to the Foreign Office, Qureshi expressed concerns over the continuing communication blackout in the Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir, which was depriving 8 million Kashmiris of critical information and essential medical supplies needed to effectively contain the Covid-19 pandemic.
Qureshi also reiterated the need to lift sanctions against Iran, enabling it to utilize its resources to save precious human lives.
“The Foreign Minister highlighted that debt relief for developing countries like Pakistan would enable them to devote greater resources to fight Covid-19 pandemic and mitigate its economic fallout,” added the Foreign Office.
Qureshi also talked to the Canadian foreign minister and sought help from the Canadian government in facilitating the stay of Pakistani nationals and students. They also exchanged views to facilitate the return of Canadian passport holders to Canada.