China sent a plane loaded with medical personnel and supplies to help Pakistan fight the spread of the coronavirus ( COVID-19 ) in one of the world’s most populous nations, the Pakistani Foreign Ministry said Saturday.
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Across West Asia and elsewhere, the outbreak has raised concerns that health systems strapped by multiple wars, refugee crises and unstable economies won’t be able to handle a growing numbers in cases. Iran is battling the worst outbreak in the region. Iranian state TV raised on Saturday that the virus death toll by another 139 people, pushing the total fatalities to 2,517 amid 35,408 confirmed cases.
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China has sought to portray itself as a global leader in the fight against the outbreak, which began a few months ago in its Wuhan province.
Qureishi greets doctors
The plane carrying aid to Pakistan was met at the capital’s airport on Saturday by Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureishi, who greeted the arriving Chinese doctors and officials.
On Friday, China sent ventilators, masks and other medical equipment to the South Asian country, and a previous shipment of masks was sent. Pakistan is a key link in China’s ambitious multibillion-dollar ‘One Road Project’ linking south and Central Asia with China.
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Pakistan, with a population of 220 million, currently has 1,408 confirmed cases of the virus, including 11 deaths from the illness it causes, COVID-19. Most of the infected people there were travellers returning from neighbouring Iran.