ISLAMABAD: Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on National Security Dr Moeed Yusuf on Thursday categorically rejected the allegation that Pakistan has exported the novel coronavirus to different countries, including the United Kingdom, and said any attempt to single out Pakistan would not be allowed.

At a media briefing, he also advised people to behave sensibly and not to travel to Europe without getting Covid-19 test done as it would put the reputation of Pakistan at stake. They should also avoid travelling unnecessarily, he added.

Dr Yusuf said there were some instances in which people got themselves tested at unauthorised labs and were found to be negative. However, they tested positive after reaching some countries.

“I suggest people that they should get themselves tested at the labs authorised by the embassies of different countries because otherwise they can be deported. Recently, there was a hue and cry in the UK that 50 per cent of Covid-19 cases were carried by the people who went there from Pakistan. The fact of the matter is that only 30 passengers were confirmed to have tested positive in the UK and even it cannot be said with surety that they had carried virus from Pakistan because tests are not conducted at airports of the UK,” he said.

PM’s aide advises people to have tests at labs authorised by embassies

“Who knows if those persons had contracted virus at airports of the UK or while going to their house in cabs. I have talked to the British High Commissioner in Islamabad and he informed [me] that the allegation was levelled in media reports and there was nothing from the government side. Similarly, in some other countries only 10 to 12 cases have been detected in people who travelled from Pakistan,” he added.

The SAPM said the country itself conducted tests of every passenger who came to Pakistan till the middle of June, but did not blame any nation for positive cases. Moreover, he said no one appreciated Pakistan for testing every patient.

“Now it is being claimed that 50pc of cases in the UK were being exported from Pakistan. But the fact is that only 30 passengers were detected positive there. I also suggest Pakistanis not to travel unnecessarily as some of the Pakistanis, who went abroad for tourism, have been stuck there and we are getting their requests to bring them back. I want to make it clear that our priority is to bring stranded Pakistanis first rather than those who went abroad for tourism,” he said.

Dr Yusuf said stranded Pakistanis would be brought back over the next one-and-a-half weeks and flights to the Gulf countries would not be stopped. “I suggest people to stop elective traveling abroad as we are not aware what will be the policy of Pakistan and other countries after two weeks. Pakistan has been acting with responsibility and will continue playing its role in stopping the spread of disease,” he said.

Meanwhile, 4,142 more people were infected with coronavirus and 58 lost their lives during the past 24 hours, taking the national tally of cases to 220,239 and deaths to 4,504.

Irsa Office sealed

The office of the Indus River System Authority (Irsa) in Islamabad has been sealed after an official, who was detected positive for Covid-19, visited the office without submitting a medical fitness certificate.

According to a statement, the official visited the office on Thursday. The matter was brought to the knowledge of the competent authority and he was directed to immediately return and stay home till his test report comes negative.

“Besides, as remedial and preventive measures to ensure the safety of all employees, Irsa has taken a decision to close the office on Friday, July 3, (suffixing Saturday, Sunday i.e. public holiday) so as to disinfect the office properly and ward off the further spread of the virus. However, the staff concerned would remain available on phone,” the statement said.

Published in Dawn, July 3rd, 2020