Following the outrageous coronavirus outbreak, Pakistan has temporarily halted all flight operations to China.
The decision has been made in the aftermath of a shocking rise in the death tolls caused by the deadly virus. As of Thursday, over 170 deaths had been reported in the country, with nearly 8,000 people infected, including several Pakistani students.
The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), on Thursday, issued a notification in this regard, saying that the higher authorities made the decision.
All direct flight operations between Pakistan and China are to be stalled on an immediate basis initially till February 2.
The decision is subject to “subsequent review,” it added.
In total, nearly 30,000 Pakistanis, most of them students, are in China, with over 500 trapped in Wuhan – the birthplace of the coronavirus. Owing to the medical emergency, the city is in a virtual lockdown.
Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on National Health Services, Dr. Zafar Mirza, has confirmed that at least four Pakistani students have tested positive for the mysterious pathogen.
Despite the growing concerns, the government of Pakistan decided against evacuating its students from Wuhan, fearing that they could bring the deadly virus to the country.
On Thursday, the federal government said it would not evacuate Pakistani citizens – mostly students – from Wuhan.
Speaking to media on Thursday, Dr. Zafar Mirza said:
We believe it’s in the interest of our loved-ones in China [to stay there]. It’s in the larger interest of the region, the world, and the country that we don’t evacuate them now.
He said that the decision is in line with the World Health Organization’s (WHO) guidelines.