COVID-19: Govt set to send supplies to Pakistani students in Wuhan

Published: March 16, 2020
Representational image. PHOTO: REUTERS

Representational image. PHOTO: REUTERS

ISLAMABAD: The Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development will send aid supplies for 15 days to 1,300 Pakistani students stranded in China’s Wuhan city, the epicentre of the novel coronavirus.

In a statement issued on Sunday, Special Assistant to the PM for Overseas Pakistanis Zulfikar Bukhari said a special aircraft of the Pakistan Air Force will deliver the supplies on Thursday.

He added that the ministry was constantly in touch with the Chinese government for the well-being of the students.

Last month, the government had ruled out bringing back the students in Hubei province and its capital Wuhan.

Chinese had backed Pakistan’s decision not to evacuate the students.

“If such large number of students comes back, this will cost huge health operations for the Pakistani government. If the isolation facilities are not ready, this can cause another outbreak of this virus in Pakistan,” Li Bijian, the consul general of China in Karachi, told reporters.

Later, a two-member special task force from the Embassy of Pakistan in China visited Wuhan and met four Pakistani students who had contracted the virus in January.

The officials obtained first-hand information from the students about their health and recovery.

The Embassy of Pakistan has played a pivotal role in providing utmost facilitation to protect the students suffering from coronavirus.

They have taken a number of steps to provide assistance to the students, such as: establishing two 24-hour hotlines for the facilitation of Pakistani students in China and responding to queries of students via email.

An 11-member core group was also constituted to monitor the situation and respond to the requests of the Pakistani students, and a video conference was arranged with Health Minister Dr Zafar Mirza and Zulfikar Bukhari.

Foreign Minister Wang Yi issued instructions to relevant authorities to ensure the safety of the Pakistani students in Hubei province and across China.

The Chinese government has reassured Pakistan that the students are as important as their own nationals, and took measures to provide basic amenities to the students – including food, water, regular medical checkups, spraying of disinfectant in students’ dormitories and residential localities.

The students were provided with protective masks and gloves and their body temperatures are monitored twice a day.

Students suffering from depression and stress were also provided psychological counselling.

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