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19 May 2021

Plane with 300,000 doses of Chinese COVID-19 vaccine lands in Minsk

An Il-76МД military transport aircraft with humanitarian aid from the People's Republic of China landed at the Machulishchi airfield. On board is the Chinese vaccine for coronavirus, BelTA has learned.

The vaccine has been developed by the China National Biotec Group, a division of China's pharmaceutical giant Sinopharm. In February China gave Belarus 100,000 doses of this vaccine. This time it donated 300,000 doses for 150,000 people.

The healthcare minister of Belarus and the Chinese ambassador have signed a certificate of the transfer of the COVID-19 vaccine batch to Belarus as humanitarian aid. The vaccines will be delivered to the warehouse of the Belpharmatsia pharmacy chain to be further distributed among the regions.

Chinese Ambassador to Belarus Xie Xiaoyong stressed that the transfer of the second batch reflects the deep friendly feelings of the Chinese people towards Belarusians. “Since the pandemic outbreak, China and Belarus have been supporting each other. We hope that our vaccine will help our Belarusian friends in their successful fight against coronavirus. The epidemic is still raging in the world, the virus is mutating, so the humanity still has a long and difficult way to go to fight COVID-19. The Chinese government and people are ready, together with Belarus, to continue fruitful cooperation, including in the field of vaccination, to effectively protect the health and safety of people in our two countries," he said.

For his part, Healthcare Minister Dmitry Pinevich thanked China for the assistance provided to Belarus. "Today's event continues the good traditions of mutual cooperation between the two countries, which is especially important in difficult times. In the past we already received a batch of vaccine, which was immediately used to fight coronavirus. Today we are welcoming another 300,000 doses. This vaccine is one of the best examples of the Chinese pharmaceutical industry and has been certified by WHO. I am ready to assure that all Chinese citizens living in Belarus will be vaccinated too," he said.

The batch has arrived thanks to the coordinated work of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of Belarus and China, the embassies of the two countries, the Healthcare Ministry of Belarus, the China International Development Cooperation Agency, Sinopharm Corporation and other agencies.

The humanitarian cargo was delivered by the aircraft of the Belarusian Defense Ministry with assistance of the Belarusian Emergencies Ministry. The Ilyushin Il-76MD airlifter performed the flight on the route Machulishchi-Beijing-Machulishchi, traveling a total of 13,600km.

“The Armed Forces are always ready to assist the Healthcare Ministry in the pandemic response. We have been doing this for over a year. This was the fifth flight to deliver humanitarian cargo from China performed with our help,” Chief of the Air Force and Air Defense Command of the Armed Forces of Belarus, Major-General Igor Golub said. “Thanks to our ties and previous experience, this time, we made the delivery in the shortest time frame. The aircraft was airborne for around 20 hours, piloted by two crews,” he added.

Belarus was one of the first countries to come to China's aid when the COVID-19 pandemic started in January 2020, Vitaly Novitsky, official representative of the Belarusian Emergencies Ministry, pointed out.

“All in all, the Emergencies Ministry has sent more than 70 humanitarian cargoes, both alone and in collaboration with other parties. In the territory of Belarus, we have worked in cooperation with the Defense Ministry, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the State Border Committee, and the State Customs Committee. We have involved students of the Civil Protection University of the Emergencies Ministry to unload the batch of the vaccine and hand it over to the Healthcare Ministry as soon as possible,” he added.

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