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Thursday Jul 02 2020

Moeed Yusuf rejects claims that Pakistan is 'exporting coronavirus'

Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on National Security says that Pakistan has acted in the most responsible manner to curb the spread of the contagious coronavirus. —

Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on National Security, Dr Moeed Yusuf on Thursday rejected the impression that Pakistan is a source of spread for coronavirus to other countries of the world, Radio Pakistan reported.

Briefing the media at National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) in Islamabad, Yusuf said that Pakistan has "acted in the most responsible manner" to curb the spread of the contagious disease.

He regretted that the British media had spread misleading news about Pakistani expatriates returning to the United Kingdom with COVID-19 symptoms, and spreading the virus there.

Only 30 Pakistanis, who returned to the UK, were tested positive for COVID-19 and the British media was exaggerating their number, he said.

"This was not the stance of the UK government as confirmed by the British high commissioner," he added.

Dr Moeed said Pakistan was "the only country which was holding tests, ensuring quarantine and screening of outbound passengers".

He said there was no justification for raising a hue and cry against Pakistan for allegedly "exporting the coronavirus".

"We are keeping a close eye on the incoming and out-bound passengers but passengers should also act responsibly and should not embark upon foreign travel if they have symptoms of COVID-19."

Moeed Yusuf said the PIA flights for the gulf region will continue, adding that Pakistanis from seventy countries have been brought back so far.

Also read: Emirates temporarily suspends passenger services to Pakistan

Last week, Emirates airline had announced that it had temporarily suspended its passenger services to Pakistan after travellers from the country tested positive for coronavirus.

"Following the announcement of positive COVID-19 cases in Hong Kong relating to certain passengers who travelled on our flights, Emirates has taken the decision to temporarily suspend passenger services from Pakistan, from June 24," said the airline's spokesperson in a statement to The Khaleej Times.

Stating that the airline was working hard to resume services to the country, it had said that cargo and repatriation flights to Pakistan will continue as per the announced schedule.

According to the airline, 26 passengers on-board an Emirates flight to Hong Kong had tested positive for COVID-19. These passengers were from Pakistan and had transited through Dubai airport before boarding another flight for Hong Kong.

Pakistan has been witnessing a surge in COVID-19 cases over the past few weeks. Medical experts have warned that the number of coronavirus cases in the country may reach four million by end July-August.