BUENOS AIRES, Feb. 25 (Xinhua) -- Argentina received its first batch of vaccines from Chinese pharmaceutical firm Sinopharm on Thursday night.
Chief of the Cabinet of Ministers Santiago Cafiero was on hand to receive the shipment at the Ezeiza International Airport on the southern outskirts of the capital Buenos Aires.
Accompanying Cafiero were Foreign Affairs Minister Felipe Sola and Health Minister Carla Vizzotti, as well as Chinese Ambassador to Argentina Zou Xiaoli.
Chinese President Xi Jinping and his Argentine counterpart, Alberto Fernandez, have reached an important consensus on cooperation in the development and use of vaccines, said Zou.
"This consensus has become a reality" thanks to the joint efforts of Argentina's foreign affairs and health ministries, Argentina's National Administration of Drugs, Foods and Medical Devices (ANMAT) and the Sinopharm group, Zou told reporters at the airport.
The Chinese ambassador highlighted China-Argentina cooperation in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, including exchanges among medics regarding diagnosis and treatment experience, institutions' cooperation in vaccine clinical trials, as well as the acquisition and transportation of vaccines.
"The arrival of vaccines from China is a milestone in cooperation against the pandemic," said Zou. "As long as Argentina needs it, China is willing to continue providing various supplies against the pandemic, including vaccines."
"Vaccines are undoubtedly valuable, but more valuable than vaccines are unity and cooperation. Sino-Argentine cooperation against the pandemic fully proves this point," added the envoy.
China is willing to strengthen coordination and cooperation in bilateral and multilateral fields, jointly respond to challenges, share development opportunities and make greater contributions to the well-being of the two peoples and to world peace and prosperity, said Zou.
Also present at the event was President of Aerolineas Argentinas Pablo Ceriani, who told the press that "We are very happy about this flight to bring vaccines, which is a huge effort by the entire government, and by the Chinese government as well, for which we are very grateful."
The aircraft used to deliver the Chinese vaccines to Argentina also carried with it a greeting from China. In addition to its traditional light blue and white colors, it bore the legend "Happy New Year - Year of the Ox" on its fuselage, in both Spanish and Chinese, with the image of a red ox inside a golden circle.
Argentina registered its first case of COVID-19 on March 3, 2020 and has reported 2,093,645 cases with 51,795 deaths from the disease as of Thursday night.