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Vaccine aid steps up with deliveries

China Daily | Updated: 2021-02-08 10:06
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Workers transfer the China-donated Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccines at the Phnom Penh International Airport in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Feb 7, 2021. [Photo/Xinhua]

Cambodia among latest to get doses in China plan to help dozens of nations

HONG KONG-Cambodia received the first batch of a Chinese vaccine against COVID-19 on Sunday, paving the way for vaccinations to start within days.

In doing so, China's southern neighbor becomes yet another country to be helped in its fight against the coronavirus pandemic with a Chinese-developed vaccine. China is honoring its commitment to make vaccines a global public good.

Last Monday Pakistan became the first country to receive China's vaccine aid after the arrival of a batch of doses developed by China's Sinopharm-the same vaccine sent to Cambodia.

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen welcomed the arrival of the vaccine at Phnom Penh's airport. The event was live broadcast on the prime minister's official Facebook page.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin, in a news conference last week, said that China is providing vaccines to 13 developing countries in Asia. Aside from Pakistan and Cambodia, they include Brunei, Nepal, the Philippines, Myanmar, Laos and Sri Lanka.

China will aid 38 more developing countries in need of vaccines and is actively participating in the World Health Organization's COVAX initiative to provide them through the platform, he said.

From Jakarta and Manila to Kuala Lumpur and Phnom Penh, more Asian countries are placing their trust in China as they have ordered, received or approved the emergency use of Chinese vaccines.

In a YouTube livestream, Indonesian President Joko Widodo on Jan 13 rolled up his sleeves to receive his first shot of a vaccine developed by the Chinese company Sinovac Biotech, beginning the country's mass inoculation campaign.

The massive drive would help Indonesia achieve herd immunity after 181.5 million people-around two-thirds of the country's population-are inoculated within 15 months, Indonesian Deputy Minister of Health Dante Saksono said.

In a phone call on Friday, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said China is ready to deepen cooperation with Indonesia on COVID-19 vaccines.

Promoting cooperation

Wang made the remarks in a conversation with Indonesia's Coordinator for Cooperation with China and Coordinating Minister Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan.

China is willing to make joint efforts with Indonesia to promote cooperation in various fields to achieve more tangible results and better benefit the two countries and their peoples, he said.

Luhut said Indonesia appreciates China's timely offering of vaccines, and hopes to continue to learn from China's experience in epidemic prevention and control.

In another phone call on Friday, Wang said China attaches great importance to Nepal's urgent need of vaccines and has decided to provide it with the first batch of vaccine aid.

Wang made the remarks during a phone conversation with Nepali Foreign Minister Pradeep Kumar Gyawali.

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, Wang said, China and Nepal have worked together to defeat the virus, and carried out sound cooperation in the antivirus fight.

On Jan 19 Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte also expressed, through his spokesperson, a willingness to receive a Chinese-developed vaccine.

Duterte last month defended the purchase of the Chinese vaccines, saying they are "safe, sure and secure".

The Philippines is expected to receive the first supplies of the Sinovac vaccine this month.

In South America, Peruvian President Francisco Sagasti will be the first in his country to receive the Sinopharm vaccine, Minister of Health Pilar Mazzetti said on Saturday.

This is an important act as it will transmit a symbolic message to all citizens, the minister said on the Radio Programs of Peru.

The first batch of the Sinopharm vaccine was scheduled to arrive in Peru on Sunday.

Mexico said on Friday that Sinovac has submitted the paperwork for approval of its vaccine in Mexico. Another Chinese firm, CanSino, has submitted partial paperwork.

By Sunday there were more than 105.8 million confirmed COVID-19 infections worldwide, with more than 2.3 million deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Xinhua - Agencies

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