Govt will demonstrate responsible behaviour, not become a part in spreading coronavirus: Zafar

ISLAMABAD: Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health, Dr Zafar Mirza said that it was not advisable to evacuate Pakistanis from China, saying that the government will demonstrate responsible behaviour and not become a part in spreading the virus.

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Dr Mirza said during a press conference that the government of Pakistan stood with its Chinese counterpart and would respect the directions of the World Health Organisation (WHO) and Beijing.

“We don’t want to take any emotional decision which will cause this virus to spread further,” he said. “It is also our responsibility to ensure that our citizens in Wuhan are being properly taken care of and see to it whether they are being provided food or items of daily use or not,” he added.

Dr Mirza said the Pakistani embassy in China was providing the government with information about its citizen in Wuhan. He said that it was in the “larger interest of the region” to not evacuate Pakistanis in Wuhan.

“This [decision not to evacuate Pakistanis] is what the WHO is saying and this is what China’s policy is,” he said. “This is also our policy.”

Dr Mirza said that the government will ensure proper checks to keep the coronavirus from spreading when “the situation improves”. He said the government will ensure proper screening at entry, exit points of the country and place under observation those who are at risk of carrying the virus.

He said that a Coronavirus Core Committee had been constituted which included the country’s top health experts. Dr Mirza said the committee provided its recommendations daily and that the situation to tackle the virus was being modified on a daily basis.

Dr Mirza said that the government’s decision not to evacuate its people from Wuhan did not mean that it didn’t care about Pakistani citizens. He said that Islamabad was abreast with the facilities being provided to Pakistani citizens in Wuhan.

“I can show you many messages from Pakistani students in Wuhan who have told us that Chinese authorities are taking very good care of them,” he said.

Not a single person in Pakistan has contracted the virus: Dr Mirza

Dr Mirza said that not a single person in Pakistan had contracted the virus. He said 7,831 people had contracted the disease and 170 had been killed. The prime minister’s adviser on health said only four Pakistani citizens in China had contracted the virus.

“That number remains at four. It has not increased,” he said.

He appreciated the policies of the WHO, saying that Pakistan and China were both members of the global body. He said that the WHO had not recommended any member countries to evacuate their citizens from Wuhan, from where the disease had spread.

Dr Mirza credited China with effectively tackling the virus and said that not only Pakistan but countries around the world were appreciating measures taken by the Chinese government.

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