Coronavirus outbreak: While Air India flight lands in Wuhan to rescue Indians, Pak says it won't evacuate citizens

WION Web Team New Delhi, India Jan 31, 2020, 08.35 PM(IST)

File photo: Pakistan PM Imran Khan. Photograph:( AFP )

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Pakistan has also said that quarantine regulations prevented it from flying out the more than 500 Pakistani students and their families from Wuhan as they said they were putting aircraft on standby.

Pakistan has said that it has no plans, as of now, to evacuate its nationals living in China in the wake of deadly coronavirus outbreak. 

Pakistan's foreign office has said that the government is monitoring the situation in China closely and is in contact with the authorities to ensure the safety of Pak students in Wuhan.

This is when governments all around the globe are grappling with the challenge of how to get their citizens out of China's Hubei province, where almost 60 million residents are now under virtual lockdown.

Air India special flight from Delhi landed in Wuhan, China earlier in the day for the evacuation of Indian citizens.

An official from Islamabad said that the government has also taken up the issue of food shortages in Wuhan. 

Also read: Coronavirus outbreak - US, others nations tighten curbs on travel to China as virus toll hits 213

Moreover, the official also claims to have been assured by the Chinese government of full cooperation in looking after these students from Pakistan. 

Pakistan has also said that quarantine regulations prevented it from flying out the more than 500 Pakistani students and their families from Wuhan as they said they were putting aircraft on standby.

Special assistant to Pakistan Prime Minister on health, Dr Zafar Mirza said, "It is our thinking that our loved ones, those who are in China, it is better for them and in the larger interests of the region, our country and the world not to evacuate them at the moment. This is what the World Health Organisation is saying and this is also the policy of China, and this is our policy as well. On this, we are standing in full solidarity with China".

Meanwhile, foreign students stuck in Wuhan - the epicentre of the outbreak - are launching social media campaigns, making phone calls and writing letters urging their governments to get them out as soon as possible.

Also read: Pakistan halts flights to and from China as coronavirus death toll rises

Pakistani student in China, Kabia Sultana said, "At the moment, I am in the Chinese city Jingzhou which is one hour's drive from Wuhan. There are many Pakistanis here with us. At least more than 300 Pakistanis are here with us. We appeal to the Pakistani government through Sarim Burni trust to please get us out of here as soon as possible because we are under mental torture and can't stay here long. Please, please, we should be rescued from here. We should be evacuated from here as early as possible on medical grounds. Our blood should be tested and then we should be sent to our country, Pakistan. Please, get us out of here. We appeal to you on behalf of all Pakistanis that we should be evacuated from China as soon as possible". The video messages of some of the Pak students was released by news agency Reuters. 

Over 200 people have lost lives in China owing to the coronavirus outbreak. The United States and other countries tightened travel curbs on Friday and businesses said they were facing supply problems because of the coronavirus in China, a day after the World Health Organization declared a global health emergency.

(With inputs from agencies)