Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen today said the Chinese government is working to start delivery of Covid-19 vaccine before Eid-ul-Fitr -- despite an ongoing five-day holiday on the occasion of May Day in China.
He said Chinese Ambassador in Dhaka Li Jiming recently informed them that vaccine doses will start arriving in Dhaka before Eid while Health Minister Zahid Maleque shared a more specific date -- May 10.
"The Health Ministry will decide when and how many doses of vaccine will arrive and what will be the transportation system. They know when we'll need it," Dr Momen told UNB, adding that they have just helped the Health Ministry establish the network with both China and Russia as alternative sources of vaccines.
The Foreign Minister said everything remains closed in China due to the current holiday, which will end on May 5.
"It takes some time as vaccines are produced based on order," Dr Momen said, adding that discussions with Russia and the United States are on to get vaccines.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Sunday reaffirmed that the government will procure vaccines at any cost to protect people from coronavirus. "We are bringing more vaccines, no matter how much money is required; we will bring more vaccines," she said.
China was supposed to give 5 lakh doses of vaccine as a gift apart from supplying vaccines through commercial purchase.
DIPLOMACY IN DIGITAL ERA
The Foreign Minister said they are continuing their diplomatic activities using digital tools despite disruptions globally amid Covid-19 pandemic.
"We're continuously connecting with everyone," he said, mentioning that webinars and WhatsApp emerged as frequent means of communication during Covid situation.
Dr Momen, however, said in person meetings and negotiations came down significantly due to the current situation. "But in person meetings are good for better negotiations."