Covid-19 impact on CPEC within controllable range

Official says impact will depend on Pakistan’s epidemic prevention, control measures


May 06, 2020
A general view of Gwadar port in Gwadar, Balochistan. PHOTO: REUTERS

BEIJING: These days, Covid-19 is spreading rapidly in Pakistan. As of May 5, the number of confirmed cases had risen to 21,044, with 476 deaths.

The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is a flagship project of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which runs through the northern and southern parts of Pakistan, where the pandemic is getting worse.

Now everyone is very much concerned about the impact of Covid-19 on the construction of CPEC projects. Some people say that it has an impact, some say there is no impact, and others say the impact is very large. “In my point of view, we should seek truth from facts,” said Cheng Xizhong, visiting Professor at Southwest University of Political Science and Law. “Of course, the epidemic will affect the corridor construction to a certain extent but I believe the effect is within a controllable range.”

The official was of the view that the impact on CPEC will depend on the spread of the epidemic in the days to come and the effectiveness of Pakistan’s epidemic prevention and control measures.

“At the same time, we should be alert to the fact that there is a force in the world that does not wish to see the success of CPEC, so they arbitrarily exaggerate the impact of the pandemic on CPEC development,” he said. The Chinese and Pakistani governments and the people of two nations have firm determination to overcome difficulties caused by Covid-19 and promote CPEC construction.

Therefore, while fighting Covid-19 together, the two governments attach great importance to the continuous construction of CPEC projects. Both governments have maintained close communication and coordination on specific issues of CPEC projects now.

Normal flights between the two countries were temporarily interrupted due to the epidemic, but Chinese technicians returned to the site by chartered airplanes.

Chinese enterprises have implemented closed-off management and all CPEC projects have formulated prevention and control plans and implemented them very strictly, therefore effectively preventing the invasion of the novel coronavirus. “As far as I know, there is no Covid-19 spread at the project sites,” he said.

The Chinese government and headquarters of Chinese enterprises have provided sufficient prevention and medical material to workers onsite and sent medical teams to the construction sites, the official added.

In addition, the Chinese enterprises participating in the construction of CPEC projects are also actively making contributions to the prevention and control of the pandemic in various locations in Pakistan, donating material to local governments, schools and hospitals.

This article originally appeared on the China Economic Net 

Published in The Express Tribune, May 6th, 2020.

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