KUALA LUMPUR, March 15 (Bernama) — China will continue to work closely with Malaysia to strengthen cooperation on COVID-19 vaccine and to assist the country to recover from the pandemic at an earlier time.
China’s Ambassador-designate Ouyang Yujing said China and Malaysia had been working together since the outbreak of the pandemic in early 2020, and now vaccine cooperation is the focus of China-Malaysia anti-pandemic cooperation.
“If the China-Malaysia joint efforts of fighting the epidemic are the first half of our anti-pandemic cooperation, the vaccine cooperation will be the other half,” he said in an exclusive interview with Bernama, at the Chinese Embassy, here, recently.
He said during China’s State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s visit to Malaysia and meeting with Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein, important consensus has been achieved on vaccine cooperation for both sides, including putting Malaysia as priority recipient of China’s vaccine.
On Jan 26, Pharmaniaga Bhd (Pharmaniaga) signed an agreement with China’s Sinovac Lifesciences Co Ltd (Sinovac) to obtain supply of 12 million doses of CoronaVac for Malaysia.
The first batch of 200 litres CoronaVac arrived in Malaysia on Feb 27 and is stored at the Phamarniaga facility, and will be processed into 300,000 doses of vaccines.
The vaccines are expected to be available to Malaysians by end of March or early April.
Early this month, Bernama also reported National COVID-19 Immunisation Programme Coordinating Minister Khairy Jamaluddin as saying that Malaysia may look to procure the single-dose CanSino COVID-19 vaccine from China’s CanSino Biologics Inc.
China’s CanSino Biologics Inc. will provide 3.5 million doses of vaccine to Duopharma Biotech Bhd, according to Ouyang.
Meanwhile, on Jan 27, the Malaysian Health Ministry also announced that it is working with the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences (CAMS), Shenzhen Kangtai Biological Products Co. Ltd and other organisations together with the Malaysian side to begin the COVID-19 vaccine phase Ⅲ clinical trials in Malaysia.
“The phase Ⅲ clinical trials are going smoothly now. As soon as the clinical trials are completed, Shenzhen Kangtai Biological Products Co. Ltd will provide the Malaysian side with no less than 10 million doses of vaccine per year within five years.
“I believe Chinese vaccine would contribute to Malaysia’s National Immunisation Programme, and play an active role in helping the Malaysian people to come back to normal life at an early date,” he said.
At the peak of the pandemic last year, the Chinese government had in April sent an anti-pandemic medical expert team to assist Malaysia, among which they had shared with Malaysia their experience and management of the pandemic.
“The visit of China’s medical expert team to Malaysia is an epitome and manifestation of the mutual assistance between the two governments and peoples during their co-fight against the COVID-19 pandemic,” Ouyang said.
Ouyang added that the two countries also maintained close communication and coordination through both bilateral exchanges and multilateral frameworks including the World Health Organisation (WHO), ASEAN (Association of the Southeast Asian Nations)-China and ASEAN+3 (China, Japan and South Korea).
He added that China and Malaysia had also showed strong support by providing each other with medical supplies, including medical gloves, PPES, testing reagents and respirators in time of needs.
During the interview, Ouyang had also expressed gratitude for Chinese enterprises in Malaysia for their contribution to help Malaysia fight against the pandemic last year, by collecting and donating medical supplies to those in need.
For instance he said the Chinese companies in the Malaysia-China Kuantan Industrial Park (MCKIP) alone have donated more than three million surgical masks and 300 boxes of disinfectant to Malaysia.
“This example clearly shows the deep friendship and concern between China and Malaysia through thick and thin, and at the same time demonstrates Chinese companies’ strong sense of social commitment to Malaysia and its people whom they have closely bonded with,” he said.
Detailing China’s strategy in containing the outbreak in 2020, Ouyang attributed the republic’s success to the leadership of Chinese President Xi Jinping and cooperation of its people, swiftly mobilising resources, and took all measures, including locking down Wuhan and providing free medical treatment, to save lives.
He said in fighting the pandemic, the Chinese government remained committed to a people-centred philosophy of development, and did all it can to prevent people from getting infected at all costs.
“As an old saying goes, the interests of people should be taken above those of the country. The CPC (ruling party) and the Chinese government always take the lives and welfare of its people as the utmost priority. If people are alive, we can get back what we have lost; otherwise, we will lose all we have,” he added.
Malaysia has so far gained access to COVID-19 vaccine supplies through the COVAX facility, and initial purchases from five COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers, which include two-dose vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech, AstraZeneca, Sinovac Life Sciences Co Ltd (Sinovac) and CanSinoBIO, and single-dose vaccine Sputnik V from Russia.
As of March 14, 2021, Malaysia recorded a total of 323,763 COVID-19 cases, with 306,274 patients having recovered while a total of 1,210 lives had succumbed to the virus.