Alvi, others test negative for COVID-19 on return from China

Published March 19, 2020
President Dr Arif Alvi, accompanied by Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, had visited China from March 16-17 for expressing Pakistan’s solidarity with the Chinese government in its efforts to contain with the spread of COVID-19. — Photos DawnNewsTV/File
President Dr Arif Alvi, accompanied by Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, had visited China from March 16-17 for expressing Pakistan’s solidarity with the Chinese government in its efforts to contain with the spread of COVID-19. — Photos DawnNewsTV/File

ISLAMABAD: President Arif Alvi and members of his delegation, who visited China earlier this week, have tested negative for COVID-19.

“Chinese authorities have formally informed the Foreign Office that President Arif Alvi, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Planning Minister Asad Umar and other members have cleared the corona test,” the FO said on Wednesday.

President Dr Arif Alvi visited China from March 16-17 for expressing Pakistan’s solidarity with the Chinese government in its efforts to contain and deal with the spread of COVID-19. He was accompanied on the trip by Foreign Minister Qureshi, Planning Minister Asad Umar and senior officials.

President Alvi and his delegation had embarked on the visit after clearing the COVID-19 test and again underwent tests after completing the tour. “Their blood samples and swabs were taken at the end of the visit and today they have been cleared after the tests,” the FO said.

Earlier, FM Qureshi had self-quarantined himself for five days after the trip.

He had told a televised press conference that he was self-quarantining himself on experts’ advice for the sake of all those around him. “If I have voluntarily decided to go into self-isolation, it is just to send a message. I’m healthy, I haven’t been affected, but a message has to be given that we need to follow the guidance of the experts. I’m acting responsibly not for myself, but those around me,” he said.

Mr Qureshi emphasised the benefits of social distancing and the need for coordinated efforts to curb the spread of coronavirus. He said the guidance of the health experts and the World Health Organisation would have to be followed.

The foreign minister called for a unified national response to the spread of virus. He said that political considerations would have to be set aside for putting up a unified response. Criticism, he maintained was easy, but would not achieve anything.

He said the situation was evolving, therefore, it was being monitored and decisions were being taken accordingly. “There is no uniform policy, we are moving ahead according to the situation,” he maintained.

Published in Dawn, March 19th, 2020

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