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China’s Jack Ma sends tons of COVID-19 relief materials to Pakistan

Pakistan is at a loss of medical equipment to handle the current coronavirus epidemic. In his philanthropic efforts, Jack Ma - business magnate from China and owner of Alibaba group - has sent a giant relief package to the country. The first of its consignments arrived in Karachi today.

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A cargo plane carrying a large supply of COVID-19 epidemic relief material has reached Karachi Airport. This plane was sent from China and was received gratefully at the hand over ceremony by Chief Minister of Sindh, Murad Ali Shah, along with representatives of NDMA and Daraz.

According to media reports, the medical equipment has been sponsored by Chinese business tycoon, Jack Ma, through Jack Ma Foundation and Alibaba Foundation. To celebrate this, the Chinese Embassy in Pakistan posted pictures of the consignment on their Twitter handle. They said that China was standing together with Pakistan through thick and thin.

National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) Chairman, Lieutenant General Mohammad Afzal, has urged people to help others instead of profiteering amid coronavirus crisis. The NDMA Chairman, while addressing a group of journalists yesterday, also said the authorities were making decisions as per available resources.

According to the NDMA Chairman, “China directs companies to treat Pakistan as a preferred buyer in healthcare equipment assistance”. “We have tried to place purchase orders for medical equipment including ventilators around the world but it is unfortunate to find nothing from the countries except China. China has assured to provide ventilators and other equipment to Pakistan and the first shipment of N95 will arrive in the country tomorrow from China”, Muhammad Afzal announced yesterday.

While addressing the media at a news briefing, Lieutenant General Muhammad Afzal announced, “other than the available 2200 ventilator in public sector, NDMA has decided to achieve the target of acquiring 10,000 additional ventilators to cope with recent pandemic outbreak. Nothing is available anywhere except in China”.

China’s efforts

On the 20th of March, the Chinese Foreign Ministry announced that their government has offered help to 82 countries, the World Health Organization and the African Union in the fight against COVID-19.

In order to help curb the exponentially spreading virus in Pakistan, a group of experts visited Sindh, Balochistan and Punjab from February 23 to March 4. Subsequently, the first batch of the aid materials was allegedly dispatched on the 9th of March. This package includes 50,000 liters of pesticides and 14 air-powered high-efficiency remote sprayers, according to China Economic Net.

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This group was led by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs of China, the International Cooperation Department of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, the Grassland Management Department of the National Forestry and Grassland Administration, the National Agricultural Technology Extension Service Center, China Agricultural University and Shandong Plant Protection Station.

They previously stated that in response to the Pakistani disaster relief materials and lack of experience, China has formulated a detailed assistance and training plan. This plan will follow an emergency deployment of disaster prevention materials including pesticides, spraying vehicles, monitoring equipment to assist Pakistan which will arrive in the country as soon as possible.

According to the said expert group, in the current large-scale outbreak of the locust disaster, spraying of chemical pesticides and biological pesticides is more advantageous to the emergency treatment of locust disasters. The specialists believe that the months of March and April will be a critical period for the eradication of locusts in Balochistan.

The Chinese officials have expressed the belief that with the joint efforts of both sides, China and Pakistan will successfully win the battle against the new crown pneumonia pandemic. It may be mentioned here that immediately after the outbreak of coronavirus in China, Pakistan had their back. Officials immediately collected a batch of stock masks, protective clothing and gloves from public hospitals across the country and sent it through military aircraft to the China to handle the crisis.

Current situation

Today, a large consignment of the coronavirus epidemic relief material arrived to Karachi Airport from China. This includes one million masks, out of which 50,000 will be N-95 masks. Another cargo will arrive on Thursday including overall combination of 30,000 medical equipment. Moreover, 50,000 testing kits will arrive. The textile to prepare protective gear will also arrive for Lahore’s manufacturer factor.

The flight from Wuhan that carried 6 tons of material, comprised of around 16 or 17 ventilators, along with other protection equipment. Another major consignment will arrive this Friday, from Beijing and Chengdu. However, there can be delay of a day or two, due to procedural issues of international flight operations.

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Around 12 tons of medical equipment is also expected on Saturday, from Urumqi. On the same day March 28, as NDMA has requested Xinjiang government and Chief Minister Gilgit Baltistan to coordinate, the border will be opened.

Moreover, local investors and importers have been requested to take advantage of this opportunity and assure assistance in booking and processing their orders. The government has contacted manufacturers of medical equipment and requested them to make investments. Furthermore, it assured to facilitate them a one-window-operation and took responsibility of clearance from the State bank, FIA, and Custom.

Chairman NDMA added, “we booked 6 orders in period of less than two months. Official also urged people to not to stimulate the sale of medical gears than storing them. Once crisis is over, things will be fine”.

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