Murad Ali Shah apprises Saudi ambassador of problems being faced by Hajj, Umrah pilgrims due to vaccine restrictions
The Saudi Arabia ambassador to Pakistan Nawaf Saeed Al-Malky has assured Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah that the kingdom would add Chinese Covid-19 vaccines to its list of approved jabs.
The development comes after Saudi Ambassador to Pakistan Nawaf Saeed Al-Malky along with Consul General Bandar Al Dayal met CM Murad in Karachi, an official statement issued by the CM House said on Friday.
CM Murad apprised the Saudi diplomat of problems being faced by Hajj and Umrah pilgrims as Pakistani travellers who received Chinese vaccine would have to undergo mandatory quarantine in Saudi Arabia as per new conditions imposed by the kingdom, according to media reports.
The cost of the quarantine will have to be paid by passengers themselves.
The kingdom has issued a list of recommended vaccines including Pfizer, Oxford’s AstraZeneca, Moderna and Johnson and Johnson’s.
However, it does not include vaccines manufactured in China.
The Sindh chief minister in a meeting with the Saudi envoy requested the Saudi government to approve the Chinese vaccine for pilgrims so that Pakistani nationals can perform Hajj this year.
A majority of Pakistanis were being administered Chinese vaccines in the country, which have been approved by World Health Organisation (WHO) as well, the CM said.
Pakistani people are dismayed over the non-inclusion of the Chinese vaccine, the CM informed the Saudi official.
Last month, the Foreign Office had said it had taken up with the Saudi government the issue of the kingdom denying entry to Pakistani Hajj pilgrims, who were vaccinated against Covid-19 with Chinese shots.
It asked the Saudi authorities to register Chinese vaccines including Sinopharm and Sinovac in their list of approved jabs.
The Foreign Office informed the kingdom that it was difficult to obtain vaccines from countries other than China.
It further said now that a large population of Pakistanis had been administered with the Chinese vaccine, doctors did not recommend giving them another jab.
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