Islamabad [Pakistan], Mar 28 (ANI): Pakistan on Friday received tonnes of medical aid, including protective gear and testing kits, from China to contain the spread of coronavirus after the latter urged its 'all-weather friend' to open the border between the two countries for at least one day so that medical supplies could be transported.
The Khunjerab Pass is usually opened on April 1, marking the end of winters But due to the global outbreak of COVID-19, the border between Pakistan and China has been closed for an indefinite period, Dawn reported.
On Wednesday, the Chinese Embassy, in a letter, addressed to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), the government of Gilgit-Baltistan and the Ministry of National Health Services, stated that the governor of Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of China would like to donate a batch of medical materials to Gilgit-Baltistan.
The governor of Xinjiang would donate 200,000 ordinary face masks, 2,000 N-95 face masks, five ventilators, 2,000 testing kits and 2,000 medical protective clothes mainly used by doctors and paramedics, the letter read.
The donation is in response to a request made by Gilgit-Baltistan Chief Minister Hafeezur Rehman to the governor of Xinjiang region to combat the disease outbreak in the region.
Gilgit-Baltistan has a high percentage of coronavirus cases in the country compared to its population, but the underdeveloped region has a negligible number of operational ventilators and its remoteness has led to a severe shortage of medical equipments.
At a time when several countries, including Spain and Croatia, are discarding the Chinese rapid test kits used to diagnose the contagious viral infection for not showing accurate results, Beijing has been pushing these gears into Pakistan in order to make its product sell.
Earlier, NDMA Chairman Lt Gen Mohammad Afzal had said at a media briefing that Pakistan sought to purchase medical equipments, including ventilators, but these were in short supply around the world and only China had assured that it would provide such items to Pakistan.
After donating the aid, the Chinese embassy in Islamabad said, "This is the friendship higher than mountains!"On Thursday, Yan Chen, managing director of Challenge Group of Companies from China also called on Prime Minister Imran Khan to donate 15,000 protection suits for Pakistani doctors and paramedical staff on the frontline battling the pandemic.
Almost 5,00,000 COVID-19 positive cases and more than 23,000 deaths later, Beijing is now urging for a all-out global war against the pandemic that originated in its own courtyard, Wuhan, before sweeping the world, perishing men, women, children, old and derailing the economies.
However, the reality is -- the worldwide toll could have been checked within time if China had been more transparent and had warned countries regarding the new strain of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS)-like infection, which originated at a 'wet market' in its province of Hubei late last year, as per a report published by American magazine 'National Review'.
The coronavirus pandemic has brought life to a near standstill in almost every part of the world. The virus has claimed more than 20,000 lives so far and continues to adversely affect more than 150 countries globally.
Countries like the US accused China of letting the virus spread around the world. US President Donald Trump recently said that the "Chinese Virus" could have stopped at its origin itself. (ANI)