March 29, 2020
ISLAMABAD - A special Chinese flight carrying an eight-member team of medical experts and relief assistance landed Saturday at Islamabad International Airport to support Pakistan in its efforts to fight the Covid-19 pandemic. Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Foreign Secretary Sohail Mahmood, Chairman of National Disaster Management Authority Lt. General Muhammad Afzal and Chinese Ambassador in Pakistan Yao Jing received the guests and thanked the government and people of China, on behalf of the government and people of Pakistan, for their timely support in this difficult time. China is extending full support to Pakistan in its efforts to contain the coronavirus. China’s assistance to Pakistan so far includes 12,000 test kits, 300,000 masks, 10,000 protective suits, and support to build an isolation hospital. The plane carried over 10,000 test kits, 10,000 N95 masks, 100,000 disposable medical masks,5,000 medical protective clothes, five ventilators, 11 defibrillator monitors and 62,000 sets of drugs for treating COVID-19.
A considerable amount of donations from private sources from China has also arrived in Pakistan. Alibaba Foundation and Jack Ma Foundation have donated 50,000 test kits and 500,000 face masks. China also handed over two tons of masks, test kits, ventilators, medical protective clothes through Khunjerab. The team of medical experts will assist the local doctors and health experts in battling the coronavirus. The team will stay in Pakistan for two weeks. The Pakistan-China 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.
President Dr Arif Alvi, accompanied by Foreign Minister Qureshi and Minister for Planning and Development Asad Umar, visited Beijing on March 16-17, 2020 to express Pakistan’s abiding support and solidarity with China in its fight against Coronavirus. Pakistan and China continue to collaborate closely and coordinate relief assistance to counter the formidable challenges posed by COVID-19. Talking to media persons at the airport Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi thanked the Chinese leadership for sending the medical team to share their experiences with Pakistani counterparts to fight the pandemic. “Chinese have once again shown to the world that they are friends of Pakistan. They care for us. We stand with each other in difficult times. This is a unique relationship and such testing times tell us how close we are to each other,” he remarked.
The foreign minister said the government’s first priority was to protect medical workers who were in the first line of duty for what the supplies had arrived and would be distributed soon. He said the government was trying to double the number of the ventilators and the testing capacity which would be remarkably enhanced after the arrival of a walk-through testing facility. Regarding the return of the stranded Pakistanis abroad, the foreign minister said the arrangements were being made to receive them at the airport. Later, he also inspected the arrangements at the airport where he was also briefed by the health officials about the protocols to be followed on the arrival of the Pakistanis from abroad.