Covid-19: Africa on top of vaccine list, China assures
This was the pledge made by charge d’affaires Li Nan of the Chinese Embassy in Refilwe on Monday.
China pledges that once the development and deployment of Covid-19 vaccine is completed in China, African countries will be among the first to benefit.
He said following the extraordinary China-Africa Summit On Solidarity Against Covid-19 co-hosted by China, South Africa and Senegal 10 days ago, Chinese President Xi Jinping announced a host of measures to support the fight against coronavirus with the African continent.
“China will continue to help African countries by providing supplies, sending expert teams, and facilitating Africa's procurement of medical supplies in China.”
He said they would also start ahead of schedule the construction of the Africa CDC headquarters in Ethiopia this year.
This also included the speeding up of construction of China-Africa Friendship Hospitals and the co-operation between paired-up Chinese and African hospitals.
Li said that China would also cancel the debt of relevant African countries in the form of interest-free government loans that were due to mature by the end of this year.
“China also encourages Chinese and international financial institutions, including both multinational and private ones, to actively respond to the G20’s Debt Service Suspension Initiative.”
Speaking to Refilwe residents, Li said they understood that huge sacrifices had to be made for the prevention and control of the pandemic.
“However, as an unintended consequence of the lockdown, many people have encountered the inconveniences and difficulties of work and life.
“The donation of these 1000 food parcels, worth R200000, is part of our concerted efforts to support our friends; 1000 food parcels is not much and far from enough, but it represents the cordial brotherhood and friendship of the people of China,” he added.
Li said they had been working closely with the ANC Women’s League led by its president Bathabile Dlamini, who was also present at the handover to provide support to the vulnerable.
“Since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, China and South Africa have always been supporting each other.”
A number of South African enterprises, including the Standard Bank of South Africa, the Sun International Group and U-Mask Company, generously donated anti-pandemic supplies to China.
“We will never forget about this.”
He said while China had achieved a decisive victory over Covid-19 ,and has put the pandemic under effective control, they were still facing the pressure of resurgence in some places, such as shown in Beijing recently.
“Now, as the Covid-19 is spreading rapidly in South Africa and other African countries, we share the same suffering and feelings of the African and South African brothers and sisters.
“It is time for China to reciprocate the goodwill and friendship of African brothers and friends.
“According to incomplete statistics, since the outbreak of the Covid-19, the Chinese government, Chinese enterprises and communities in South Africa have donated or will donate more than 5million masks, several hundreds of thousand testing kits and ventilators, temperature screening devices, forehead temperature guns and protective suits to the South African political parties, government, military and medical institutions.
“More medical supplies assistance is under way.”
He added that they were also actively facilitating purchases of anti-pandemic supplies to Africa as well as engaging in a couple of video conferences with South African health officials from the Health Department to share experiences in pandemic prevention and control.