At least 1,000 Pakistani students stranded in Wuhan – once the epicentre of the novel coronavirus – will be repatriated via four special Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) flights.
The first special flight will depart for Wuhan on May 18.
Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development Zulfiqar Bukhari took to microblogging website Twitter and welcomed the students back.
"You guys have been the bravest soldiers," he wrote.
He maintained that Pakistan is proud of them for their sacrifices during the pandemic.
I’m very happy for the 1st flight going to Wuhan to bring back our Pakistani students on 18/05/2020.— Sayed Z Bukhari (@sayedzbukhari) May 8, 2020
You guys have been the bravest soldiers, PM @ImranKhanPTI & Pakistan are proud of you.
Welcome back home !
Pakistan, since February, has ignored the Hubei-based students’ pleas to leave China as many other countries flew their citizens out.
Students in China's virus centre Wuhan return to school
A foreign ministry spokesperson said that it was reviewing flight operations for places where Pakistani citizens were stuck around the world and said students in Wuhan had been “very patient and brave” during the lockdown.
Earlier this week, the Chinese youngsters filed back to class, wearing masks and walking in single file past thermal scanners.
Teenagers sat at individual desks spaced a metre apart, seeing their teachers in the flesh after months of distance learning.
Officials in Wuhan say students and staff must all have had virus tests before going back to school, and campuses have been disinfected and cleaned.
In preparation for reopening, some schools spaced out their desks and organised smaller class sizes, according to local media.
Thermal scanners greeted everyone walking through school gates, and anyone with high temperature was not allowed in.