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Four Pakistani Students in China Diagnosed With Coronavirus

by Newsweek Pakistan

File Photo. Jung Yeon-Je—AFP

Special Assistant to the P.M. on Health says infected are being provided best possible care

Four Pakistani students in China’s Wuhan province have been diagnosed with the deadly coronavirus, Special Assistant to the P.M. on Health Dr. Zafar Mirza said on Wednesday.

In a posting on Twitter, the senior health official sought to reassure the public that all was well. “Got confirmation that four Pakistani students in China are diagnosed with coronavirus,” he said. “They are doing well, getting best care possible, and the families are being notified and reassured,” he said, adding gratitude for Chinese authorities and the Pakistani embassy for their rapid response in caring for the infected individuals.

According to Mirza, there are nearly 30,000 Pakistani citizens living in various parts of China. Of these, reportedly 500 Pakistani citizens live in China’s Wuhan city, where the coronavirus originated. Many of the Pakistanis living in Wuhan are students, who have urged Islamabad in recent days to evacuate them from the city, as the existing lockdown leaves them vulnerable to infection.

A group of Pakistani students told private broadcaster Geo News that other countries, including India and Afghanistan, were working to remove their citizens from China but the Pakistani government had yet to take any action. “There are over 500 Pakistani students in Wuhan. If even one of them gets affected, the others will be in danger,” one of the students said in a video message. “There is a shortage of essential items and if this situation persists, we will run out of food very soon,” she said, adding that under the lockdown imposed to prevent the spread of the virus, the students had been confined to Wuhan city.

On Tuesday, Chinese Ambassador Yao Jing had said that Beijing and Islamabad were working together to ensure all Pakistani citizens in Wuhan were safe and being looked after. “So far three suspicious cases in Chinese community have been reported in Pakistan, but none of them has been confirmed. We have confidence and determination that we will overcome this difficult time and will return to normal life very soon,” he added.

Prime Minister Imran Khan, meanwhile, has ordered an inter-ministerial meeting at the earliest to discuss preventative measures against the coronavirus and formulate a comprehensive strategy to tackle the threat. The country’s airports are also on alert to ensure anyone found infected with the virus is speedily treated and prevented from spreading it further after arriving in Pakistan.

Mirza, on Wednesday, said that authorities in Islamabad would soon establish a national helpline to cater to any concerns or queries people had about the coronavirus.

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