Egyptian Health Minister Hala Zayed speaks during a press conference in Cairo, Egypt, on April 8, 2021. Egyptian Health Minister Hala Zayed on Thursday lauded the cooperation between Egypt and China on combating the COVID-19 pandemic as “fruitful and unprecedented.” [Photo/Xinhua]

CAIRO – Egyptian Health Minister Hala Zayed on Thursday lauded the cooperation between Egypt and China on combating the COVID-19 pandemic as “fruitful and unprecedented.”

“I would like to thank the state of China, its leadership, government and people, for their great solidarity with us in this crisis,” the minister told a press conference in Cairo on the situation of COVID-19 pandemic in Egypt.

Zayed pointed out that Egypt has received two batches of China’s Sinopharm vaccines recently.

Egypt started in late January vaccinating medical staff of government hospitals with the Chinese Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine, which was the first of its kind approved by the Egyptian Drug Authority.

In early March, Egypt started vaccinating the elderly people and patients with chronic diseases against the highly infectious coronavirus.

On Wednesday, Chinese Ambassador to Egypt Liao Liqiang told an online press conference that, in the next stage, China will actively consider continuing to provide Egypt with vaccine assistance, as well as encouraging and guiding Chinese companies to sell vaccines based on China’s production capacity and Egyptian needs.

He added that relevant Chinese and Egyptian departments and companies have initiated commercial negotiations on the commercial procurement and localized production of vaccines.

The Egyptian Health Ministry, starting with 39 vaccination centers nationwide, has increased the number to 169, Zayed said.

“By next week, we will have 350 centers,” she added.

On the current pandemic situation in the most populous Arab country, Zayed noted that the daily infections are slightly increasing, while urging citizens not to take the precautionary measures lightly.

“Maintaining the precautionary measures … is stronger than any vaccine in the world,” the minister said.

Until Wednesday night, Egypt had registered 207,293 COVID-19 cases, including 12,290 deaths and 157,450 recoveries.