Pakistan and China have been very proactive in maintaining contact during the outbreak of the coronavirus, and Pakistani authorities specifically have been in touch with Chinese officials to work out strategies that have proved effective during in China’s efforts against the pandemic. This relationship is not just limited to information sharing, because the outbreak requires monetary support along with relief efforts, especially due to the turbulent economic situation in Pakistan. China has been diligent in providing all the necessary aid to Pakistan during this tough time, and it is a reaffirmation of the years-old friendship that the two countries developed post-independence.

China has allocated 10 ventilators for Pakistan and we are also set to receive 300,000 N-95 masks from our ally, due to the current shortage here. To battle the strain on the economy, China is also granting Pakistan USD 4 million to deal with the crisis, along with sending Chinese medical professionals to now help with cases of coronavirus in Pakistan. All these measures are a great service to Pakistan, where the number of reported cases has more than doubled since the return of the Iranian pilgrims.

Governments of the developing world require a lot of help to fight such pandemics. The assistance of allies not only reaffirms years of friendship, but also comes with a promise of future assistance from both sides. Time and again, China has come to the aid of Pakistan in times of need and such a display of support at the global political front only strengthens the relationship between the two countries. Now is the right time to also engage in sharing information, to fulfil the long-term objective of helping us produce products such as masks and other technical health equipment such as ventilators domestically. Medical equipment is key to the functioning of the health sector in the country and it is important to rely on our own commodities for future needs to meet the challenges of the crisis at hand and others that may come after.