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Pakistan to get IAEA’s nuclear tech-based Covid-19 testing equipment

April 17, 2020 05:26 PM


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The Foreign Office said on Friday that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is set to provide Pakistan the equipment for testing of COVID-19 through use of nuclear-derived technique.

“IAEA will provide Pakistan a Polymerase Chain Reaction PCR machine, bio-hazard safety cabinets, test kits and related consumer goods to help fight the novel coronavirus through the nuclear derived technique,” Foreign Office Spokesperson Aisha Farooqui told her weekly news briefing in Islamabad.

Aisha Farooqui said the embassy of Pakistan in Vienna was coordinating with IAEA for an early shipment. She said the provision of equipment would augment Pakistan’s national capacity to conduct COVID-19 tests, which was crucial in containing the spread of the disease. “Pakistan deeply values the contribution of IAEA and its leadership for helping the member states in their efforts to fight COVID-19 pandemic,” she added.

“We also acknowledge the generous contribution of the IAEA member states to boost scientific and technical capacities of other countries in combating this global crisis,” she said.

The FO spokesperson said Pakistan had a longstanding relationship with IAEA and as its founding member, would continue to benefit from its technical assistance from various fields including health, agriculture and energy besides contributing to Agency’s work of promoting peaceful use of nuclear technology.

On repatriation of stranded Pakistanis abroad amid COVID-19 pandemic, Farooqui said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs through its embassies and missions had launched a robust and round-the-clock outreach initiative to provide the overseas communities relief and assistance including food ration.

She said approximately 43,000 Pakistanis in different countries had desired to be brought back to Pakistan for which a comprehensive and phase repatriation plan from different countries was under way. “So far 2,287 stranded Pakistanis have been repatriated through 12 special PIA flights from Doha, Dubai, Bangkok, Istanbul, London, Baku, Tashkent, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur,” she said.

The second phase initiated from April 14-18 through nine more special flights will bring back 2,000 Pakistani nationals including 474 from Saudi Arabia mostly Umrah pilgrims, 271 from Oman and 634 from United Arab Emirates, 270 from Japan and Thailand, 225 from Indonesia.

The special flights will land at the airports of Islamabad, Lahore, Karachi, Peshawar and Faisalabad.

The spokesperson thanked the collaborating agencies of host governments for their cooperation in safe and smooth return of Pakistani nationals.

Farooqui said Pakistan strongly condemned illegal and unilateral actions of Indian security forces in Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IoJK), adding that continuation of atrocities was “regrettable” as the region and world fought the pandemic of coronavirus.

“Pakistan is concerned over continued restrictions of movement in IOJK despite growing number of corona patients and fatalities,’ she said.

She said blockage in IOJK compromising the supply of medicine and medical equipment was a serious point of concern.

The FO spokesperson strongly rejected the allegations made by Indian Army Chief MM Naravane and said the attempt was to malign Pakistan and divert attention from human rights abuse in IoJK.

She mentioned that Indian occupation forces recently committed 765 ceasefire violations resulting in several casualties. In 2019, India violated 3,351 times through indiscriminate firings at Line of Control and Working Boundary.

“Pakistan continues to respond to India’s belligerence. We remind India once again to respect the 2003 ceasefire agreement,” she said.

Spokesperson Farooqui said Pakistan welcomed the joint communique of G20 finance ministers and their efforts for global economic recovery as the world fought challenged during the pandemic. She said on April 12, Prime Minister Imran Khan appealed for global initiative of relief, underlying that global recession could be overcome with coordinated efforts.

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