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Pakistan

Web Desk
January 30, 2020

Coronavirus outbreak: Pakistan unware of evacuations from China

Pakistan

Web Desk
Thu, Jan 30, 2020

ISLAMABAD: The Foreign Office spokesperson said on Thursday there had been no evacuations from China amidst the coronavirus outbreak and that countries had only spoken to Chinese authorities so far in this regard. 

Her comments seemed to be in contradiction to media reports of Japan and the US flying their citizens out from Wuhan, the epicentre of the deadly outbreak.

“Islamabad is monitoring the evolving situation and will take a decision [on evacuation] after consultations among all the stakeholders,” she added.

Foreign Office Spokesperson Aaisha Farooqui had been asked during her weekly briefing if Pakistan plans to evacuate its citizens stranded in Wuhan, the epicentre of the disease outbreak. 

To another question highlighting problems being faced by stranded citizens, she said: “Islamabad has taken up the issue of food shortages with concerned officials and we are assured by the Chinese government of full cooperation in this regard." 

The World Health Organization, which initially downplayed the severity of a disease that has now killed 170 in China, planned a meeting on Thursday on whether to declare the epidemic a global emergency.

Regardless of any WHO declaration, governments, companies and people around the world continued to ramp up efforts to try and contain the mysterious illness that is believed to have emerged from an animal market in the central Chinese city of Wuhan.

Some Pakistani students in Wuhan, however, are complaining that they are not being taken care of by the Chinese authorities and demanded immediate evacuation in a social media post earlier this week.

Asked to comment on whether Pakistan would be putting restrictions on flights coming in from China, and closing down the Khunjrab Pass, the spokesperson stated that the Khunjrab crossing inauguration has been rescheduled for April.

When a reporter pointed out that some passengers had been stranded in Urumqi, the  Farooqui said the FO was aware of the situation.

“We have taken up the issue of accommodation of citizens stopped at Urumqi airport and have asked Chinese officials to make appropriate arrangements,” she said.