KATHMANDU, March 29 (Xinhua) — Nepal’s Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli on Monday lauded China’s contribution to the world in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic after a batch of Chinese vaccines arrived in the Himalayan country.

A medical worker works at a vaccination room in Kathmandu, Nepal, Jan. 27, 2021. (Photo: Xinhua)A chartered flight of the Nepal Airlines, the national flag carrier, brought back the vaccines donated by China on Monday, giving a major boost for Nepal to continue its vaccination campaign against the pandemic.

During the handover ceremony at Prime Minister Oli’s residence in Kathmandu, Oli extended heartfelt thanks to the Chinese government on behalf of the Nepali government and in his personal capacity for donation of the COVID-19 vaccines.

He also appreciated China’s anti-COVID-19 efforts as well.

“I would like to appreciate the steps taken by China and the works done by the government of China to fight against COVID-19,” he said. “The policy of success that China has adopted is a lesson to other countries.”

Earlier in the day, a welcome ceremony was organized at the Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu after the plane carrying the Chinese vaccines landed in the airport.

Nepali Health Minister Hridayas Tripathi, senior Nepali government officials as well as Chinese Ambassador to Nepal Hou Yanqi attended the ceremony.

Minister Tripathi expressed gratitude to China for donating the vaccines, saying the Chinese doses would contribute to Nepal’s fight against COVID-19.

“We are very thankful to our neighbour China. Nepal went through a prolonged lockdown (last year). It is not easy to fight against nature and its consequences. The ministry is trying its best to avoid lockdown (again). This vaccine will help the government’s plan to avoid second lockdown,” he said.

Chinese Ambassador Hou said, “This batch of vaccines is not only an implementation of the solemn commitment of China to make Chinese COVID vaccine a global public good, but also a vivid manifestation of our two countries’ joint construction of a community with shared future.”

She added that the vaccines provided by China would help Nepal overcome the COVID-19 pandemic at an early date and contribute to early resumption of normal economic and social life in Nepal.

The Chinese vaccines arrived in Nepal at a time when the Himalayan country is struggling to get enough vaccines to continue its vaccination drive. Nepal started the vaccination campaign against COVID-19 on Jan. 27 and has so far inoculated over 1.7 million people in two phases, according to Nepal’s Ministry of Health and Population.

On Feb. 17, the Nepali Department of Drug Administration granted approval to the vaccine developed by China’s Beijing Institute of Biological Products Co. Ltd. under Sinopharm, for the emergency use in Nepal.