World, Asia - Pacific

Pakistan says will not evacuate citizens from China

Pakistan only to allow nationals entry after completing 14-day incubation period inside China, says health official

Islamuddin Sajid   | 01.02.2020
Pakistan says will not evacuate citizens from China


Pakistan on Saturday announced it would not grant Pakistani and Chinese nationals entry into the country without completing a 14-day incubation period inside China.

The two countries agreed that Beijing would not allow any Pakistanis currently within its borders to leave without completing the observation period, Zafar Mirza, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Health, told reporters in Islamabad.

"China has already announced that no Chinese citizen will go abroad without remaining disease-free for 14 days.

"Today, I met with the Chinese ambassador in Islamabad and we agreed that the same policy would also apply to those Pakistanis who are currently in China," Mirza said.

He explained that Chinese authorities would issue certificates to those who complete the incubation period, only then allowing them to travel abroad.

Mirza stressed that though people of roughly 120 nationalities lived in Wuhan, only several had airlifted their citizens from the city, the epicenter of the novel coronavirus, and that China "doesn't agree" with their evacuation.

He reiterated that no coronavirus cases have yet been confirmed in Pakistan.

The coronavirus, so named because under the microscope it resembles a crown, has killed at least 259 people in China, with nearly 12,000 infected. More than 118,000 people are under medical observation.

Since its outbreak late last year, China has put the city of Wuhan, located in Hubei province, under lockdown in a bid to contain the virus and is building a 1,000-bed hospital to treat those affected.

Beyond China, the virus has spread to Japan, South Korea, Thailand, the U.S., Singapore, France, Vietnam and Canada.

Travelers from China are being screened for the virus at airports worldwide. Several airlines have suspended flights to Wuhan. 

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