Several Pakistani athletes have to remain in China for an undetermined period due to the virus outbreak, various media outlets have reported.
Speaking about the matter, a senior official of the Athletics Federation of Pakistan (AFP) claimed:
They will have to stay for a few more days as there is no flight operation from Nanjing to Islamabad during the next few days.
The official further clarified that the athletes are in a safe condition for return.
I am in constant contact with the travel agent and probably the flights will reopen their operations by 4th February and our athletes will return by the first available flight.
Most countries have temporarily discontinued their flights to China due to coronavirus, which has claimed over 200 lives thus far. The outbreak has forced the World Health Organization (WHO) to declare this as a global health emergency as the virus has already spread in over 15 countries, with its first case being confirmed in India on Friday.
The athletes currently stuck in China include Arshad Nadeem, Olympian Mehboob Ali, Mohammad Naeem, Uzair-ur-Rehman and Samiullah. These athletes traveled to Nanjing for training purposes.
We are in contact with our athletes. They are safe. The place where they are staying is quite safe and hopefully they will return safely.
It is worth pointing out that several international sporting events, which were supposed to be held in China, have also been moved to a different country to safeguard the interest of the athletes.