No report of coronavirus infection among Pakistanis in China so far: FO

Published January 26, 2020
People with face masks ride a BTS Sky train in Bangkok on January 26. Thailand has detected eight coronavirus cases so far. — AFP
People with face masks ride a BTS Sky train in Bangkok on January 26. Thailand has detected eight coronavirus cases so far. — AFP

Over 500 students and other Pakistanis living in the Chinese city of Wuhan, where the 2019 Novel Coronavirus is believed to have originated, and other parts of China are "safe", the Foreign Office said on Sunday.

The virus similar to the SARS pathogen has claimed 56 lives since emerging in a market in Wuhan, and spread around the world.

"There is no report of infection in any Pakistani community member thus far," the FO said in a statement, adding that the Pakistani community has been reassured of full support and requested to follow health protocols issued by the Chinese authorities and stay indoors.

It said the foreign affairs ministry and the Pakistan Embassy in China are "actively monitoring the situation" of the coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan. The embassy in Beijing and other sub-missions in China are also in touch with the Pakistani community as well as Chinese authorities.

"The current situation calls for greater patience and perseverance," the press release added.

According to the statement, the Chinese health ministry while noting the increase in the number of cases and its human-to-human transmission has put additional measures in place to reduce the risks associated with the virus.

"We laud the resolute efforts of Chinese authorities in dealing with the outbreak of the virus," the FO said.

It said Pakistani students and community members have been advised to regularly visit the embassy’s website and register themselves online.

The FO statement comes a day after the Pakistan Embassy in Beijing revealed that there are approximately 28,000 Pakistani students all over China, around 800 resident traders and around 1,500 Pakistani traders who travel to China frequently.

“There are close to 500 students in Wuhan alone. These numbers have to take into account the fact that many of our students come to China either on self financing or on the scholarships offered by the Chinese and they don’t always register with the Embassy. Similarly, our traders and other visitors from Pakistan also don’t always register with the Embassy. So the Embassy has an approximate estimation,” the statement said.

“Pakistani community members and students in Wuhan are advised to comply with the efforts of Chinese health authorities for curbing the spread of novel coronavirus. The Embassy urges Pakistani students to remain vigilant and adopt good personal hygiene practices. In case of any reports of viral infection in members of Pakistani community/students, it is requested to cooperate with local health authorities and share immediately the complete information with Pakistan’s embassy in Beijing,” it added.

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