Pakistanis in virus-hit China asked to get registered with embassy

Flight operations between the two countries resume after arrival of coronavirus testing kits from China

Our Correspondent February 03, 2020
People wearing face masks are pictured in London, Britain January 31, 2020. PHOTO: REUTERS

KARACHI: The Pakistan Embassy in Beijing has asked members of the Pakistani community to register them and their family members with it at the earliest as flight operations between the two countries, after a three-day hiatus, resumed on Monday amid an outbreak of novel coronavirus.

Flights between the two countries were earlier suspended after the World Health Organisation declared the Wuhan coronavirus as a global health emergency. Pakistan on Friday had halted flights to and from China with immediate effect till February 2.

On Sunday, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on National Health Services Dr Zafar Mirza said Pakistan was now equipped to diagnose the mysterious contagion after the arrival of at least 1,000 testing kits from China. He added that as many as 199 health information booths have been set up at various airports to provide answers to queries about the mysterious illness.

"All Pakistani nationals residing in China are kindly requested to register themselves and their family members with the Embassy of Pakistan as early as possible,” read a notice shared on the embassy's website on Monday.

Stranded Pakistanis return from China as flight operations resume

They were also asked to provide complete details of all their family members including spouses and children during the registration process.

Last week, the federal government said it would not evacuate Pakistani citizens – mostly students – from Wuhan. “We believe it’s in the interest of our loved-ones in China [to stay there]. It’s in the larger interest of the region, the world, and the country that we don’t evacuate them now,” said Mirza.

Almost 500 Pakistanis are studying in various universities of Wuhan, which is in virtual lockdown, while the total number of Pakistani nationals in China is between 28,000 and 30,000 – most of them are students. Mirza disclosed that at least four Pakistani students tested positive for the mysterious pathogen.

The Chinese city of 11 million people in the central Chinese province of Hubei has been quarantined by authorities in an attempt to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The World Health Organisation, which this week declared the outbreak a public health emergency of international concern, has said global trade and travel restrictions are not needed.

(With additional input from APP)

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