Some 100,000 doses of the Sinopharm vaccine and 102,400 accompanying syringes contributed by the Government of the People’s Republic of China to Brunei Darussalam arrived at Brunei International Airport yesterday.
Minister of Foreign Affairs II Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Erywan bin Pehin Datu Pekerma Jaya Haji Mohd Yusof attended the handover ceremony on behalf of the Brunei Government, while Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to Brunei Darussalam Yu Hong represented the Chinese Government.
Senior officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) and Ministry of Health as well as representatives from the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Bandar Seri Begawan were also present.
According to the MFA, Brunei and China have extended mutual assistance to address the COVID-19 pandemic. Brunei provided financial assistance to China in March 2020.
The latest vaccine contribution is the second batch received from the Chinese Government. The first comprised 52,000 doses of Sinopharm received in February this year.
The Chinese ambassador said the vaccine contributions are testament to the friendship between the two countries.
With COVID-19 raging across the world, she said vaccines are powerful weapons against the pandemic and help revive the economy.
The ambassador said China consistently calls for closer international cooperation on vaccines. Even when China’s vaccine production capacity had not yet reached a sizeable scale and domestic demand for vaccination increasing sharply, it overcame difficulties and started supplying vaccines to countries with urgent need and ensuring vaccine accessibility in developing countries.
“To date, China has provided over one billion doses of Chinese vaccines, the largest amount in the world, to more than 100 countries and international organisations. Chinese President Xi Jinping mentioned that in the course of this year, China will strive to provide two billion doses of vaccines to the world, and has decided to donate USD100 million to the COVAX for distributing vaccines to developing countries. China has also launched the Initiative for Belt and Road Partnership on COVID-19 Vaccines Cooperation, the China-ASEAN Public Health Cooperation Initiative, and continued to improve the ‘China-ASEAN vaccine friends’ platform,” said the ambassador.
The ambassador also highlighted other Chinese contributions to Brunei’s COVID-19 fight. “Since the second wave of the COVID-19 outbreak, Chinese company BGI responded swiftly to the request of the Bruneian government and coordinated the arrival of experts and the delivery of equipment in less than a week. The first mobile inflatable Huo Yan laboratory in Southeast Asia was put to operation in no time, substantially improving the daily testing capacity. Hengyi Industries donated much-needed supplies and equipment to the Huo Yan lab to support its smooth and safe operation. Evyd Technology continued its upgrading of the BruHealth App, which is playing an increasingly important role in case tracking and quarantine management. The Muara Port Company Sdn Bhd has waived port and terminal fees for all the medical supplies and equipment.”