China’s President Xi Jinping pledged, on Monday, to offer one billion Covid vaccine doses to Africa amid concerns over the Omicron variant.
In a speech made via video link to a China-Africa summit near Senegal’s capital Dakar, Xi stated that his country would donate 600 million doses directly.
The Chinese leader added that a further 400 million doses would come from other sources, such as investments in production sites.
“We must continue to fight together against Covid,” Xi told the summit. “We must prioritise the protection of our people and close the vaccination gap.”
Xi’s promise comes as part of a forum between China and African states with an emphasis on trade and security, held in the city of Diamniadio near Senegal’s seaside capital.
Over 500 flights from Shanghai’s two major airports were cancelled on Friday, and some schools shut and tour groups suspended after three coronavirus cases were reported in Shanghai.
Beijing has largely succeeded in controlling the spread of the coronavirus within its borders through travel restrictions and snap lockdowns, but frequent domestic flare-ups have tested its no-tolerance strategy in recent months.
The three positive cases are friends who travelled to the nearby city of Suzhou together last week, Shanghai health authorities said at a press conference Thursday evening — adding that all had been fully vaccinated.