Pakistan receives Chinese vaccine gift as deaths drop, schools reopen

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Covid Vaccines

dpa/GNA – A military plane loaded with Chinese coronavirus vaccine landed in Pakistan on Monday as the country saw a significant drop in Covid-19-related deaths and tens of thousands of students got back to classes after months at home, officials said.

The plane transported half a million doses of the vaccine manufactured by the Chinese Sinopharm company from Beijing to Islamabad ahead of a national inoculation campaign planned for later this week, health chief Faisal Sultan said.

Health workers will be first in line. At least 400,000 health workers have registered for vaccination.

China, a neighbour and political ally, has announced that it is donating the first batch of the vaccine to Pakistan.

Pakistan’s health ministry announced late Saturday that the country had also secured 17 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Planning Minister Asad Umar said the international vaccine-sharing alliance Covax confirmed that delivery of AstraZeneca vaccine would start in February.

The vaccine breakthrough comes as the country witnessed a steady decline in Covid-19 related deaths.

Only 24 deaths were reported on Sunday after nearly three dozen on Saturday, lowest number in weeks.

Pakistan is among the top 15 worse affected countries with more than half a million coronavirus cases so far and more than 11, 000 related deaths.

Also on Monday, on-campus classes at universities and elementary schools resumed after three months as tens of thousands of students streamed back to educational institutions.

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