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“We have been resolutely and successfully confronting COVID-19 and taking all possible measures to strengthen the existing health system”, this was underscored by Foreign Secretary Sohail Mahmood while delivering remarks ata Video-Conference on COVID-19 Response. The Vice-Ministerial level Conference was chaired by Chinese Vice-Foreign Minister Mr. Luo Zhaohui. Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka participated in the Conference.

Foreign Secretary underscored that the Director General (WHO) had acknowledgedPakistan’s efforts in fighting the COVID-19underlining that Pakistan was one of the countries to learn from.

Foreign Secretary emphasized that following its success thus far in controlling the virus, Pakistan was taking a host of additional public health, economic and poverty alleviation measures to effectively contain the pandemic.He noted that despite COVID-19, Pakistan’s economy had shown signs of recovery and resiliencewith several key economic indicators being very promising. Foreign Secretary also hoped that post COVID-19, BRI and CPEC would become the hub of trade and economic activity for the region.

Foreign Secretary maintained that both Pakistan and China, complying with strict SOPs, were taking effective measures to resume trade, flights, and people-to-people exchanges. Appreciating that PIA had resumed a weekly commercial flight to China, the Foreign Secretary hoped that Pakistani students will soon start returning to China.

Foreign Secretary reiterated that COVID-19 vaccine, as and when developed, must be declared a “global pubic good” and made available on an equitable basis. He underlined that Pakistan and China’s collaboration in the Phase-III clinical trials of Chinese vaccine in Pakistan was progressing well. He also reaffirmed Pakistan’s resolve to support the idea of ‘Health Silk Road’ to deepen cooperation in the health sector.

Foreign Secretary underlined that international cooperation and solidarity was pivotal for success in the fight against COVID-19. He maintained that the pandemic should neither be politicized nor stigmatized. Noting the importance of multilateralism, the Foreign Secretary stressed that WHO must play a central role in leading the global fight against the pandemic.

Highlighting the plight of the people in the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK), accentuated due to the COVID-19, the Foreign Secretary stressed that the global community must urge India to lift the double lockdown and allow access to international health experts to extend medical help to the besieged Kashmiris.


11 November 2020

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