Bangladesh has sought Covid-19 vaccine from China as soon as possible, as India halted exports of Oxford-AstraZaneca vaccine amid a huge surge in local cases.”They said they would work with us,” Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen told reporters today following a virtual foreign ministers’ meeting involving China, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.This is the first meeting of the China-led initiative called “China-South Asia Platform for Covid-19 Consultation, Cooperation, and Post-pandemic Economic Recovery”.
Under the platform, China proposed establishing Covid-19 emergency medical facility, poverty alleviation, and e-commerce in rural areas.
The medical facility will store various medical equipment, including vaccines. Dhaka emphasised on the provision of medical-grade oxygen and vaccines since Covid-19 is an emergency at the moment.
When asked about the location of the medical facility, Momen said it was not fixed yet. However, Dhaka has proposed to set it up close to the sea so that the member countries can get it at the quickest possible time, in any case of emergency.
China wants to set up a Poverty Alleviation Centre and share their experiences of poverty reduction with South Asia as millions of people may be pushed on the fringe due to the pandemic.
Also, China wants to explore e-commerce opportunities in the rural areas given the Covid-19 induced restricted mobility.