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Coronavirus Update: Pakistan not ready to combat COVID-19 third wave, says Bilawal Bhutto

News Agencies | Updated on: 3 April 2021, 10:32 IST
PPP chairperson Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari (ANI)

Pakistan is not sufficiently ready to combat the ongoing third coronavirus wave due to the country's government's "refusal" to purchase vaccines for every citizen, said Pakistan opposition leader Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari.

Addressing a press conference in Jacobabad after meeting local Pakistan Peoples Party leaders and workers, Bilawal, PPP's chairperson, said the "stubbornness" of the government in refusing to purchase vaccines had led to Pakistan lagging behind other regional countries in vaccine rollout, Pakistani newspaper Dawn reported.

"Pakistan is not at all ready to challenge the third [coronavirus] wave which is cropping up and coming in front of us. If we are not ready then [it is] only because our federal government [is showing] stubbornness on this policy, that it is not ready to buy vaccines for every Pakistani which is the only solution to this problem," he said. 

Bilawal said Pakistan was trailing behind India, Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka in tackling the pandemic and the vaccination campaign, despite Afghanistan being a war-torn country.

"I think this is a shameful reality and there is no need or reason why Pakistan's economic growth rate should be behind Bangladesh or Afghanistan," he added.

As of Wednesday, only 0.8 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine had been administered in Pakistan, which kicked off its vaccination drive in early February.

The first batch of vaccines containing 0.5 million vaccines arrived in Pakistan on February 1 from China.

The vaccination drive in Pakistan started slowly as there were no takers for the Chinese coronavirus vaccine. Many healthcare workers refused to register themselves for the vaccine, expressing concerns regarding the safety or efficacy of the vaccine, officials and experts told Al Jazeera.


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First published: 3 April 2021, 10:28 IST