ADDIS ABABA, June 19 (Xinhua) -- A batch of China's Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccines, donated by the Chinese Red Cross Society to its Ethiopian counterpart, arrived here on Saturday.
The doses arrived at the Addis Ababa Bole International Airport in the presence of senior Ethiopian government officials, representatives of the Ethiopian Red Cross Society, members of the Chinese diplomatic community in Ethiopia.
Dereje Duguma, Ethiopian State Minister of Health, said during the handing over ceremony that a portion of the latest batch of vaccine doses will be used in Ethiopia's conflict-affected Tigray regional state.
"We are very much thankful for the Red Cross to work with the government of China and the Red Cross of China to bring this donation to Ethiopia," the state minister said.
"Our foremost gratitude and thanks will go to the government and people of China for providing different support since the first few months of the pandemic," he added.
Abera Tola, President of the Ethiopian Red Cross Society, also echoed the state minister's remarks as he commended the Chinese Red Cross Society for the much-needed support, as he vowed to further strengthen the partnership among the two humanitarian organizations.
"The Ethiopian Red Cross will fulfill its assignment and obligation for delivering this vaccine to the most needy people through the Ethiopian Ministry of Health," Tola said.
"On behalf of the Ethiopian Red Cross Society, again and again, I would like to say thank you very much. I hope it will not be the last, I hope it will continue," he added.
China has so far donated a total of 500,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses to Ethiopia, according to figures from the Chinese Embassy to Ethiopia. The East African country had received the first batch of China's Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccines that was donated by the Chinese government back in March.
Zhao Zhiyuan, Chinese Ambassador to Ethiopia, stressed that as a comprehensive strategic cooperative partner of Ethiopia, China will continue its capacity to Ethiopia's anti-pandemic efforts, and play an active role as Ethiopia undertakes to boost the economy and improve people's lives.
"The pandemic didn't stand in the way of China-Ethiopia relations, instead it has brought us even closer together," the ambassador said.
According to Zhao, China has donated and is donating vaccines to 88 developing countries in urgent need, and has provided support under COVAX for emergency use of vaccines in developing countries.
"Let us continue to work together to put COVID-19 under control, and jointly contribute to the building of a healthy community for all," Zhao said.
In addition to the COVID-19 vaccine support, China has been helping Ethiopia in its fight against the COVID-19 pandemic since its outbreak in terms of Personal Protective Equipments (PPEs), testing kits as well as training and experience sharing.
China donated several batches of medical supplies to Ethiopia last year, and a Chinese team of medical experts has been sent to Ethiopia to support its fight against the pandemic.
As of Saturday morning, Ethiopia has recorded 274,899 COVID-19 cases and 4,276 COVID-19 related deaths, according to the latest figures from the Ethiopian Ministry of Health.