Foreign Secretary addresses at vice-ministerial level video conference on COVID-19 Response.

Pakistan on Wednesday expressing firm resolve to counter COVID-19 said additional measures were being taken on public health, economic and poverty alleviation to reduce the impact of pandemic.

“We have been resolutely and successfully confronting COVID-19 and taking all possible measures to strengthen the existing health system,” Foreign Secretary Sohail Mahmood said at a video-conference on COVID-19 Response.

The vice-ministerial level conference, chaired by Chinese Vice-Foreign Minister Luo Zhaohui, was participated by Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

Chinese Vice-Foreign Minister Luo Zhaohui chairs the video conference on COVID-19 Response.

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

He noted that despite COVID-19, Pakistan’s economy had shown signs of recovery and resilience with several key economic indicators being very promising.

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Foreign Secretary also hoped that during the post-COVID-19 situation, the Belt and Road Initiative and China Pakistan Economic Corridor would become the hub of trade and economic activity for the region.

He said both Pakistan and China, complying with strict Standard Operating Procedures, were taking effective measures to resume trade, flights, and people-to-people exchanges.

Lauding resumption of Pakistan’s International Airline’s weekly commercial flight to China, the Foreign Secretary hoped that Pakistani students would soon start returning to China.

Sohail Mahmood said COVID-19 vaccine,  nd when developed, must be declared a “global public 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.

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He also reaffirmed Pakistan’s resolve to support the idea of ‘Health Silk Road’ to deepen cooperation in the health sector.

The 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 called upon the global community to urge India to lift the double lockdown and allow access to international health experts to extend medical help to the besieged Kashmiris.