China seeks opening of border with Pakistan to supply medical equipment

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China has asked Pakistan to open the border between the two countries for a day on Friday so that medical services to fight the coronavirus pandemic can be transported to the country, a media report says.

The Khunjerab Pass is usually opened after March 31st, during the spring season. However, due to the worldwide outbreak of COVID-19, the border between Pakistan and China has been closed indefinitely.

The Chinese embassy said in a letter to the State Department that the governor of Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of China in Gilgit-Baltistan wants to donate a lot of medical supplies, the Dawn said.

According to the letter, the governor donated 200,000 normal face masks, 2,000 N-95 face masks, five ventilators, 2,000 test kits, and 2,000 medical protective clothing, which were used primarily by doctors and paramedics to fight viruses that came from China at the end of last year.

The donation is a response to a request from Prime Minister to China in order to combat the corona virus.

Gilgit-Baltistan has a high percentage of coronavirus cases in the country compared to the population, but the underdeveloped region has only a negligible number of ventilators, and the remoteness has led to a severe shortage of medical equipment.

The province has reported 84 positive cases so far, while the national number has reached over 1,100 and the death toll has reached eight.

Prior to that, Lt. Gen. Mohammad Afzal, chairman of the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), said Pakistan had tried to buy medical devices, including ventilators, but they were in short supply worldwide, and only China had said they would deliver such items to Pakistan would.

According to a 1985 protocol agreement, the Khunjerab border crossing is closed from late November to April. Trade and travel activities between the two countries take place via the Khunjerab Pass, also known as the Sust Dry Port, which is the only land route between China and Pakistan.

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