Sunday Feb 02, 2020
Pakistan’s Ambassador to China Naghmana Hashmi on Sunday said that Pakistani students should not be evacuated from the virus-hit Chinese city of Wuhan as medical facilities in Pakistan do not meet the standards required to treat a patient diagnosed with coronavirus.
In a conversation with Geo News, Hashmi shared that China has the best medical facilities to handle the patients suffering from the disease.
The statement from the envoy comes a day after a senior health official in Islamabad announced that the government will not bring its citizens despite multiple requests from the students and their families for immediate evacuation.
Speaking to media on Saturday, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Health Dr Zafar Mirza said that no Pakistani will be allowed to travel back to the country from China till they complete a 14-day observation period.
The envoy assured that Pakistani students in Wuhan were safe, adding that the four Pakistanis diagnosed with the virus were also recovering.
“There are no problems regarding food and water in Wuhan,” said the envoy.
Hashmi said that some students were worried about the shortage of food and other other issues in Wuhan, but the embassy is fully aware of their concerns and is in constant touch with Chinese authorities in Hubei province.
"I want to assure our citizens that Pakistani Embassy and Chinese government are working jointly to make sure their problems are immediately addressed."
"Currently, the province is quarantined and no one is allowed to go. As soon as the retrictions are lifted, we will be the first to be with our countrymen," she assured.
The envoy also dismissed the reports that the Pakistani embassy was not receiving phone calls. She clarified that it might be possible that the phones of the mission may have been busy at that time.
The death toll from the epidemic soared to 304 on Sunday, as an increasing number of countries imposed extraordinary Chinese travel bans to combat the spread of the disease.
On Sunday, China’s National Health Commission said more than 14,000 people have been infected by the novel coronavirus.
Outside mainland China, there have been more than 100 infections reported in more than 20 countries. The Philippines on Sunday reported the first death from the virus outside mainland China.
The World Health Organization has also declared an international emergency over the outbreak.