ISLAMABAD - A video conference between the health ministers of the Islamic Republic of Iran and Pakistan was held on Monday with the aim to strengthen joint cooperation and exchange experiences on overcoming the COVID-19 pandemic. A statement issued by the Health Ministry spokesperson said that Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Health Dr. Zafar Mirza and Iranian Minister of Health, Treatment and Medical Education Saeed Namaki during a virtual meeting discussed the prevailing situation due to the coronavirus outbreak and bilateral relations. The statement said: "The Ministers of Health of Iran and Pakistan in the video conference shared the steps and measures taken by each other's governments to manage the outbreak of corona[virus]." Dr Mirza during the meeting praised the effective measures taken by the Iranian government against the virus. He said that Pakistan has established the National Command and Operations Center to overcome the challenge of COVID-19, adding that the centre monitors the situation on a daily basis. 

He informed the Iranian Minister that the Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan also monitors the situation himself.  He told Minister Saeed Namaki that the first coronavirus case was reported in Pakistan on February 26. During the meeting Iran's health minister Saeed Namaki highlighted the close and fraternal relations between the two countries. He said that Iran as a national policy promoted social distancing and is ready to share its experience with the friendly neighbouring state of Pakistan. Dr Mirza added that Pakistan has conducted more than 213,000 tests so far, and in the past 24 hours, nearly 10,000 tests have been performed in different parts of the country, trying to bring the screening level to 20,000 a day. According to National Command and Operation Center the number of COVID-19 patients in Pakistan has soared to 20,186 with 5,590 recoveries and 462 deaths.