BAGHDAD, April 11 (Xinhua) -- Iraq on Sunday received the second batch of Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccines donated by the Chinese government to help the country combat the pandemic.
A handover ceremony held at the Baghdad International Airport was attended by Chinese Ambassador to Iraq Zhang Tao, Iraqi Health Minister Hassan al-Tamimi, and several other senior Iraqi health officials.
"China and Iraq are good friends and close partners. We have been supporting each other against all the odds in our joint efforts to fight the pandemic, which has further consolidated and deepened the friendly partnership between the two countries and peoples," Zhang said during the ceremony.
China "pays close attention to the epidemiological developments in Iraq ... and has donated two batches of vaccines to the Iraqi side in fewer than two months," he added.
Describing the coronavirus as "the common enemy of all human beings," the Chinese ambassador highlighted the need for the international community to "unite in close coordination to combat the pandemic, and to work hand in hand to promote a community with common health for the mankind."
For his part, al-Tamimi expressed his gratitude for China's assistance to Iraq, noting China has been standing with Iraq since the outbreak of the pandemic and was the first country to send vaccines to Iraq.
"China has played a great humanitarian role and has sent aid not only to Iraq but also to many other countries," the Iraqi minister told Xinhua.
Earlier, the Iraqi National Board for Selection of Drugs has approved the emergency use of China's Sinopharm and Britain's AstraZeneca vaccines to contain the spread of COVID-19 in the country.
The donated Chinese vaccines are expected to advance the national immunization plan in Iraq, as the country has recorded unprecedented daily COVID-19 infections in recent days.
On March 2, Iraq received the first batch of COVID-19 vaccines donated by the Chinese government to help combat the pandemic.
During the early stage of the pandemic in 2020, China sent several batches of medical aid to Iraq and a team of seven medical experts who spent 50 days in Iraq from March 7 to April 26 to help contain the disease, during which they helped build a PCR lab and install an advanced CT scanner in the capital Baghdad.