China to give PH priority on COVID-19 vaccine

The Chinese Embassy in Manila on Tuesday assured that China will give priority to the Philippines, in the name of “global public good,” once a vaccine against COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) is developed and put into use.

Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Huang Xilian made this assurance as he seeks to expand cooperation between the two governments in the areas of health, smooth flow of goods and people, economic and social recoveries, and sustainable growth. 

“When the COVID-19 vaccine is developed and put into use, China will give priority to providing it to the Philippines, as a global public good,” Huang said. 

Huang said China and the Philippines, along with other Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) partner countries, have accelerated their cooperation in the field of public health, and are committed to building a "Health Silk Road" and a community of common health for mankind. 

Following the outbreak, Huang said China is working through various channels to fully support the Philippines’ resistance to the virus, including the dispatch of its medical experts to Manila at the onset of the enhanced community quarantine period. 

A report on Monday revealed that the International Center for Diarrheal Disease Research of Bangladesh and Chinese company and inventor Sinovac Research and Development Limited will begin the Phase III clinical trial of a Chinese vaccine for the treatment of COVID-19. 

While awaiting the vaccine, Huang said the Chinese government has so far provided the Philippines with a total of 252,000 testing reagents, 130 ventilators, 1.87 million medical masks, protective suits, goggles, and other epidemic prevention materials.

In addition, he said a large number of Chinese local governments, enterprises, and civil groups donated millions of PPEs and other medical supplies to different local governments and hospitals of the Philippines.

To hasten and strengthen other areas of cooperation, both China and the Philippines have been negotiating for the establishment of the “fast track” for two-way essential travel and a “green channel” for smooth flow of goods to ensure the stability of the industrial and supply chains.

At the same time, Huang said the two countries are continuing to synergize the BRI with the Philippines’ “Build, Build, Build” infrastructure program, and steadily carry out major cooperation projects in infrastructure construction to further consolidate and upgrade the relations.

“As the resumption of work and production proceeds in an orderly manner, there will be more Chinese-financed projects in the Philippines which will inject strong impetus to the local economic recovery and improvement of people's livelihood,” he said.

The top Chinese diplomat in Manila likewise assured that the two countries are making every effort to accelerate work resumption and help the public return to their normal lives.