China has praised Pakistan for resuming flights to the country, a day after it received special medical kits from Beijing to detect the deadly virus cases. (Photo Credit: File Photo)
Hundreds of stranded Pakistani students in the coronavirus-hit Wuhan city have made desperate pleas to the Imran Khan government to evacuate them from China's worst-affected Hubei province, urging his administration to take a leaf out of India's book. India airlifted 654 people, including seven Maldivians, on Saturday and Sunday from Wuhan. The evacuated Indians would be monitored for any signs of infection for two weeks by a qualified team of doctors and staff members. India also temporarily suspended e-visa facility for Chinese travellers and foreigners residing in China in view of the rapid spread of the virus.
Pakistan's Ambassador to China Naghmana Hashmi on Sunday said that the Pakistani students should not be evacuated from Wuhan as medical facilities back home did not meet the standards required to treat a patient diagnosed with coronavirus.
Hashmi's remarks came a day after Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Health Zafar Mirza said the government will not bring its citizens back despite multiple requests from the students and their families for immediate evacuation.
Stranded Pakistani students on social media from Wuhan and Hubei province made desperate pleas to the government to change its decision of not to evacuate them due to fears that they may spread the virus in Pakistan.
Watching the Indian students leave, the Pakistani students posted videos on social media asking their government to do the same. In one of the videos, a Pakistani student while showing the Indian students boarding the bus to go to the airport, said while India was evacuating its citizens, the Pakistan government says "you live or die we will not evacuate or facilitate" their journey home.
"Shame on you Pakistan government. Learn from India how it takes care of its people," he said in the video that went viral. Pressure is also mounting on Nepal from hundreds of its students studying in China to evacuate them. One Nepali citizens is reported to have tested positive for coronavirus. Sri Lanka and Bangladesh have evacuated their citizens from Wuhan.
Pakistan has more than 28,000 students in China, including 500 in the worst-hit city of Wuhan.
Meanwhile, China has praised Pakistan for resuming flights to the country, a day after it received special medical kits from Beijing to detect the deadly virus cases. Pakistan joined other world airlines on Friday in suspending flights to China over virus fears, raising eyebrows here considering Islamabad's all-weather ties with Beijing.
Pakistan however resumed the flights from Monday even as the death toll jumped to 361 with confirmed cases soaring to over 17200 all over China. Four Pakistani students from Wuhan have reportedly contracted the virus.
Asked about Pakistan resuming flights, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying told reporters here on Monday that Pakistan Prime Minister Khan highly commended China and firmly supported its efforts to fight against the coronavirus. "They also appreciate China's assistance for Pakistani citizens in China and express confidence in China winning this battle with the strength of its system. The Pakistani people are standing firmly with their Chinese brethren," she said.
The coronavirus outbreak, which originated in the central Hubei province in December, has killed 425 with 57 deaths reported on Sunday while the number of confirmed cases has climbed to 20,000.
The Philippines on Sunday reported the first death outside China from the epidemic that has spread to 25 countries, including India, the US, the UK and Russia.
In China, almost all the deaths have been reported in Hubei Province - the epicentre of the virus outbreak. The virus was declared a global health emergency by the World Health Organisation (WHO) on January 31.