ISLAMABAD - Prime Minister Imran Khan spoke to Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, on Tuesday to discuss the latest situation on COVID-19 response and resumption of Polio vaccination campaigns in Pakistan.

During the conversation, the Prime Minister apprised Bill Gates about the improved Covid-19 situation in Pakistan with considerable reduction in new cases and the fatality rate.

The Prime Minister shared that the “smart lockdowns” policy of the government has proven to be very effective. The timely and prudent interventions enabled the government to mitigate the effects of COVID-19 on health and economy had successfully averted a larger catastrophe.

The Prime Minister acknowledged the Gates Foundation’s continued support to Pakistan which includes COVID-19 response. He noted that the repurposing of Polio infrastructure played an important role in COVID-19 response.

The Prime Minister reaffirmed Polio eradication as a key priority of the government. Both the Prime Minister and Gates said they are encouraged to see that Polio vaccination campaigns have been able to restart with appropriate COVID-19 precautions.

They agreed to enhance the program to ensure vaccination for all children, including in the remote areas. They discussed how using existing structures that are supporting COVID-19, such as the National Command Operation Center, could help support Polio eradication efforts.

Bill Gates acknowledged Pakistan’s efforts to combat the pandemic while protecting the lives and livelihoods of vulnerable populations.