BEIJING: President Dr Arif Alvi and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping on Wednesday discussed in detail the Pakistan government’s fight against the novel coronavirus on the last day of his first official visit to China.
My visit to China on invitation of President Xi Jinping was to show solidarity with China in stressful times, appreciate their outstanding effort to contain Coronavirus & for taking good care of students in Wuhan. How to #iFightCorona War in Pakistan was discussed in great detail https://t.co/n5374FD3Po
— Dr. Arif Alvi (@ArifAlvi) March 18, 2020
In a series of Twitter posts, the president said his visit was aimed at showing solidarity with China in stressful times.
He lauded China as “Pakistan’s iron brother” for her efforts to control the virus as new cases in the Hubei province have been in single digits for the past seven days, as compared to several thousand a day in early February.
He also appreciated China’s efforts to take care of the 1,300 Pakistani students stranded in China’s Wuhan city, the epicenter of the COVID-19.
Separately, while addressing a press conference, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi seconded President Alvi on the purpose of the visit.
“The world is blaming China [for the outbreak],” Qureshi said. “Pakistan had expressed confidence in China by not repatriating students from Wuhan. These students did not face any mishap either,” he said.
The foreign minister said that the decision to repatriate pilgrims returning from Iran was a difficult one, but “they had to return as [quarantine] facilities were inadequate at the [Taftan] border.”
“No one can fight the virus alone,” Qureshi stressed. “We have to come together as one nation to curb its spread. Only one case has been reported from Wuhan. We have to make the right decisions as we have to face this situation for some time.”
Qureshi announced that Prime Minister Imran Khan has made a National Coordination Committee to calculate the economic outfall of the situation. “We have to analyze the effect on the economy if there is a complete lockdown,” he said.
He also urged media to play a unified role in this time of crisis as it did against Indian atrocities. Qureshi added that now is not the time to hold rallies.
During the visit, both sides also signed a number of memorandums of understanding (MoUs) and handing-over certificates of donated vaccine refrigeration equipment, emergency humanitarian materials for epidemic response and emergency materials of epidemic control.
The joint statement said that China had made major progress in control of coronavirus and would win this “people’s war” against it, adding that both sides underlined that COVID-19 “was a common challenge for humanity and all countries should unite to overcome this challenge together”.