Islamabad: Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Friday said the anti-coronavirus vaccine, which pharmaceutical companies from several nations are attempting to make against the disease, must be declared as a "global public good" and provided to everyone on the basis of equality.
Speaking at a video conference on Belt and Road International Cooperation: Combating COVID-19 with Solidarity, hosted by China, Qureshi said the coronavirus pandemic has hit hard the economy, businesses and supply chains across the world.
"The COVID-19 vaccine, as and when it is developed, must be declared a 'global public good' and made available on an equitable basis," Qureshi was quoted as saying in a statement issued by the Foreign Office (FO). Coronavirus has so far claimed the lives of 454,215 people and infected 8,491,673 across the world.
In Pakistan, the situation was getting intense as the nation's death toll due to the deadly virus reached 3,229 while the total number of infections jumped to 1,65,062, the health ministry said on Friday.
Qureshi said besides causing deaths the COVID-19 pandemic has shaken the world and led to economic slowdown, bankruptcies, financial fissures, job-losses and disruption in global supply-chains.
Highlighting the dangers the pandemic has posed to social and political stability, Qureshi said it was time for the world community to demonstrate unity, solidarity, and multilateral cooperation to fight this pandemic.
Qureshi underlined that Pakistan was resolutely confronting the outbreak of COVID-19 and taking all possible measures to strengthen the existing health system.
"The primary focus remained on both saving lives and saving livelihoods. In order to alleviate the sufferings, Prime Minister Imran Khan had introduced major initiatives including a USD 8 billion relief package for the most vulnerable people and Ehsaas Emergency Cash Program to help the needy," he told the participants.
Talking about the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), Qureshi said the flagship project could play an important role in boosting regional growth and recovery in the post COVID-19 period.
The 3,000-km-long CEPC is aimed at connecting China and Pakistan with rail, road, pipelines and optical cable fiber networks. It connects China's Xinjiang province with Pakistan Gwadar port, providing access to China to the Arabian Sea. The CPEC passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, over which India has conveyed its protests to China.