COVID Watch | 22nd January 2021

China to gift Pakistan 500,000 vials of Sinopharm vaccine as goodwill gesture by end of January, reveals Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi; Punjab Secondary Education Department carries out regular randomized testing in schools ahead of meeting to decide reopening primary and middle schools; Sputnik-V approaches DRAP for registration of vaccine which boasts 73 to 85 percent efficacy


China to gift Pakistan 0.5 million vaccine vials

As a gesture of goodwill, China will gift Pakistan 0.5 million vials of Sinopharm vaccine free of cost by the end of January. This was stated by Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi following a telephonic conversation from the Prime Minister House with his counterpart in China, Wang Yi. A special flight from Pakistan will bring in this first consignment due to air travel restrictions imposed by China following a resurgence in cases there. He further revealed that Pakistan will receive its pre-booked shipment of 1.1 million Sinopharm vaccine doses by the end of February.

Random testing carried out in Punjab schools

The Punjab Secondary Education Department is continuing to carry out randomized testing of students, teachers and staff of schools in the province, the results of which are being sent to the provincial government and then to the National Command and Operations Center. Depending on the positivity rate of samples collected from schools, a high-level meeting will be held on January 25 to determine whether or not primary and middle schools will reopen.

Sputnik-V approaches DRAP for registration

Russian state-owned Sputnik-V approaches the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) for registration of its vaccine which, according to Reuters report, boasts an efficacy of 73 to 85 percent. Meanwhile, the Chinese firm Anhui Zheifi Longcom Biopharmaceuticals Company Limited has applied to conduct phase three vaccine clinical trials in Pakistan.