KARACHI: Special aircraft of the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) are bringing one million doses of COVID-19 vaccines from China, a spokesperson of the national flag carrier said on Sunday, as the South Asian country is observing a rise in coronavirus cases.
Official data showed that 5,611 people have tested positive for the virus and another 118 have died of it in the past 24 hours. On Saturday, the country reported 157 coronavirus deaths — its highest single-day COVID-19 death toll since the pandemic began early last year.
The country is aiming to vaccinate around 70 million people out of its 220 million population to reach herd immunity. So far, it has administered at least 1.8 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines. Assuming every person needs two doses, that’s enough to have vaccinated about 0.3 percent of the country’s population.
"Three PIA Boeing 777 aircraft have brought one million doses. The aircraft had left for China on Saturday,” PIA spokesperson Abdullah Khan told Arab News.
"The first two planes returned in early hours of the day," Khan said. The third plane is expected to land in Islamabad in the late afternoon.
He added that to overcome the coronavirus crisis the vaccine import has been accelerated and three more vaccine flights are planned within the next few days to support the country's immunization efforts.
China’s Sinopharm and CansinoBio, Sputnik-V and the AstraZeneca vaccines have been approved for emergency use in Pakistan.