A police officer stands near a set up roadblock, amid lockdown, in an effort to prevent the spread of the COVID-19, in Lahore, Pakistan April 26, 2020. (Photo: Agencies)
Pakistani officials accorded warm welcome to the second Chinese medical team that arrived in the country as the country extended its lockdown until May 9 and allowed flexible arrangements for Ramadan in some cities.
"China's medical assistance coupled with the transfer of knowledge and expertise has helped Pakistan to contain the pandemic," Naeem Afzal Chan, a spokesperson of Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan said.
"China came to Pakistan's rescue at a time when it was needed the most. And it once again proved to be an iron friend," he said.
Chinese Air Force transport aircraft carrying medical experts and supplies arrived in Islamabad, "in an effort to help Pakistan cope with the COVID-19 outbreak", said the Chinese embassy in Pakistan on Twitter on Friday.
The team comprises 10 medical professionals from the People's Liberation Army.
Medical staff from the PLA have contributed much to China's fight against COVID-19 in Wuhan over the past months.
Meanwhile, Yao Jing, China's ambassador to Pakistan, reiterated that China is Pakistan's close friend and steadfast partner, at a meeting with Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Friday.
"Pakistan extended valuable support to China's fight against outbreak," Yao said. And Pakistani President Arif Alvi's visit to Beijing in March was an expression of tremendous solidarity with the Chinese people and further cemented our ties, he said.
"China will continue to strengthen Pakistan's capacity to fight this pandemic," he said.
Speaking about China's support, Zafar Mira, special assistant to prime minister on national health services, said that the country had been successful in containing the outbreak with the help of China, and that Pakistan may have fallen prey to the pandemic had the Chinese not come in on time.
"We are grateful to China for its continuous assistance against unseen this enemy－COVID-19. And we are winning against it with the help of our Chinese friends," Zafar said.
According to the World Health Organization, Pakistan had a total of 12,227 confirmed cases by Sunday, with 269 deaths.
The first team of Chinese medical experts landed in Islamabad late last month, holding more than 40 events across the country before returning home on April 17.
Then, as advised by the Chinese experts, Pakistan imposed complete lockdown of areas where cases had emerged, and later partially relaxed the curbs if no new cases reported.
"This produced remarkable results. The areas were cleared after no new case was reported there," said Sheikh Ansar Aziz, the mayor of Islamabad.
Supplies from the Chinese government and private companies included N95 and medical masks, ventilators, thermometers, thermal scanners, gloves, goggles, sanitizers, and non-woven fabric for making protective suits apart from personal protection equipment and testing kits.
After the initial success in decreasing the spread of the virus, Pakistani government relaxed its lockdowns across country a few days before the start of Ramadan.