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Chinese President Xi Jinping met with his Pakistani counterpart Tuesday in Beijing to shore up their alliance amid the global coronavirus pandemic – promptly shaking hands in an apparent oversight of advised health measures.
Xi and Pakistan President Arif Alvi clasped hands before a meeting at Beijing’s Great Hall of the People, becoming the latest world leaders to greet each other – or at least attempt to – with a handshake.
Health experts have advised citizens around the world to practice “social distancing” and to avoid physical contact with others to prevent the outbreak from spreading.
Alvi’s visit comes as China blamed the COVID-19 outbreak on the United States, claiming U.S. Army spread the virus in the region. Coronavirus infections were first reported in China’s Wuhan province late last year, infecting at least 81,100 and killing 3,241 in the country to date.
President Trump has labeled the disease the “Chinese Virus” as China pushed its propaganda war with the U.S. further on Tuesday by placing restrictive measures on several top media companies including The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal.
Meanwhile, China will provide Pakistan with testing kits, ventilators and other medical equipment to deal with the country's coronavirus outbreak, Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi told the independent Geo news channel. He said China will also provide cash in grants to Pakistan to set up a state-of-the-art isolation center to combat the highly infectious disease.
There are 246 confirmed virus cases in Pakistan.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.