4 Pakistani students in China diagnosed with coronavirus

Updated 30 Jan 2020

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Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Health Dr Zafar Mirza addressing a press conference on Wednesday. — DawnNewsTV
Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Health Dr Zafar Mirza addressing a press conference on Wednesday. — DawnNewsTV

Four Pakistani students in China tested positive for the coronavirus, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Health Dr Zafar Mirza said on Wednesday.

Addressing a press conference, Dr Mirza said that a large proportion of the Pakistanis living in China were students of which over 500 students were based in the central city of Wuhan, the epicentre of the new virus.

The premier's special assistant said that there were four Pakistani students confirmed to have the coronavirus with links to Wuhan.

On Prime Minister Imran Khan's behalf, Mirza assured the children's families of the government's support. He said that they will take on the responsibility of these children and all Pakistanis in China.

"We will take care of them the same way we would care for our own children," he said.

Mirza, however, said that no case of the coronavirus had been confirmed in Pakistan yet.

"There is not even one confirmed case of coronavirus inside Pakistan," he said, adding that there were four individuals suspected of having the virus who were then kept under observation and their samples were collected. Mirza said that their health was improving and per the evidence, they could say with a great degree of certainty that the individuals do not have coronavirus.

The premier's special assistant added that the cabinet had also discussed the virus during which he had presented a short briefing.

Mirza said that the government and himself were in constant contact with the Foreign Office, Pakistan's ambassador in China as well as the embassy there.

The new virus has killed 132 people and infected more than 6,000 in mainland China and abroad so far.

The United Arab Emirates, home to long haul carriers Emirates and Etihad, also confirmed its first case on Wednesday in a person who had come from Wuhan, the state-run news agency reported.

The infection is believed to have originated in a wild animal market in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, where it jumped to humans before spreading rapidly across the country, prompting authorities to enact drastic nationwide travel restrictions in recent days.

Measures to avoid being infected

The National Institute of Health (NIH), as well as international health bodies including the World Health Organisation (WHO) and United Kingdom's National Health Service (NHS) have issued public advisories listing preventive measures which should be taken to prevent the spread of the virus.

Here are a few simple measures you can take to avoid being infected:

  • Wash your hands regularly for no less than 10 seconds with soap and water. Using an alcohol-based sanitiser is also advised.

  • Wear a facemask and avoid close contact with anyone with a cough or flu. Fever, cough and respiratory problems have been identified as early symptoms of coronavirus.

  • If you have any of the above symptoms, contact a doctor at the earliest.

  • Cover your mouth and nose with your hand or tissue while coughing or sneezing to protect other people from germs. Discard the tissue immediately and wash/sanitise your hands.

  • While visiting a live market in an area where the virus has been detected, avoid contact with animals.

  • Avoid eating undercooked meat. Raw meat should be handled carefully in order to avoid contamination.