ISLAMABAD 

Pakistan will receive another half a million doses of COVID-19 vaccine from China as a gift, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said on Tuesday.

Speaking to reporters following the formal launch of activities to celebrate 70 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries, Qureshi said Beijing has always helped Islamabad in difficult times.

“Today, on this occasion, China has offered another gift to the Pakistani nation and will send us 500,000 more doses of Sinopharm vaccine,” he said.

On Feb. 1, Pakistan received the first batch of 500,000 doses of the vaccine as a gift from its longtime ally.

The country has already begun a much-awaited vaccination campaign. In the first phase, frontline health workers and those over age 65 are being inoculated.

In January, the government announced it has secured 17 million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine through the UN-led COVAX initiative.

So far, the country’s drug regulator has approved the emergency use of China’s Sinopharm and CanSino, Oxford-AstraZeneca, and Russia’s Sputnik V vaccines.

Last week, authorities relaxed a number of restrictions on commercial activities and official work.

While time limit on commercial activities was lifted and condition of 50% attendance at workplaces removed, permission to hold indoor wedding ceremonies and opening of cinemas and shrines was also granted from March 15.

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