Pakistanis stranded in virus-hit China return home as flight operations resume
Statesman Report
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan nationals, who were stranded in China amid the deadly coronavirus outbreak, returned home on Monday, a day after flight operations resumed between Islamabad and Beijing.
A total of three flights carrying 143 passengers arrived by noon. Two flights came directly from China while one came from Doha, Qatar.
Speaking at a press conference in Islamabad later in the day, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Health Dr Zafar Mirza clarified that none of the passengers that arrived in the country were suspected to have coronavirus or needed to be kept under observation.
Addressing a press conference alongside Chinese envoy Yao Jing, Mirza highlighted that no citizen, whether Chinese or Pakistani, is allowed to leave China without spending a 14-day “disease-free period”.
“This measure […] has protected the people of our country. The flights that arrived today carried both Pakistani and Chinese citizens who were screened according to the protocol in place.
“We had them [the passengers] sign our special health declaration forms. Therefore, the overall situation [regarding coronavirus] is satisfactory,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Chinese ambassador thanked Pakistan for extending their unwavering support to the country during this difficult time.
He explained that so far people leaving China are being screened over a 14-day period. However, nobody from Hubei province or the city of Wuhan, ground zero for the outbreak, had been allowed to travel domestically or internationally.
“Right now we are not encouraging Chinese citizens to travel abroad,” he said. He added that the Chinese citizens traveling to Pakistan are being traced and monitored by the respective embassies and companies.