By Sajjad Hussain
Islamabad, Feb 3 (PTI) Pakistan on Monday resumed flights from coronavirus-hit China after two planes from the country landed at the airport in Islamabad.
Pakistan had suspended flights from China till February 2 after the World Health Organisation declared the outbreak of the novel virus as a global health emergency.
The death toll in the coronavirus epidemic soared to 361 with 57 deaths on Sunday alone while the number of confirmed cases climbed to 17,205.
According to the Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority (PCCA), two flights of China Southern Airlines – CZ 6007and CZ 5241 - from Urumqi city of China landed at Islamabad International Airport.
The flights were allowed a day after Pakistan said it has received special medical kits from China to detect the coronavirus cases.
Officials said a Qatar Airlines flight also came from Doha, bringing at least 40 Pakistani students from China who had travelled to Qatar due to suspension of direct flights to Pakistan.
Assistant to Prime Minister on Health Zafar Mirza who was at the airport to see the arrival and mandatory checks on the passengers confirmed the development.
“At Islamabad airport this morning - received passengers from China along with HE Chinese Ambassador in Pakistan. We supervised implementation of ‘Airport SOPs’ and I interviewed passengers,” Mirza tweeted.
“Following all international protocols ensuring their health & safety as well as that of all Pakistanis. A responsible Pakistan means being emotional when needed but rational and practical in decision making as well. We support the Chinese Govt efforts to overcome CNV (coronavirus),” he said.
So far, no case of the virus has been found in Pakistan.
While India, the US, Sri Lanka and many other countries evacuated their nationals from Wuhan, Pakistan has declined pleas by its stranded citizens in the city to airlift them.
Pakistan's Ambassador to China Naghmana Hashmi on Sunday said that Pakistani students should not be evacuated from Wuhan as medical facilities back home do not meet the standards required to treat a patient diagnosed with coronavirus. PTI SH RS