ISLAMABAD          -    Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development (OP&HRD) Syed Zulfikar Abbas Bukhari Tuesday said the deadly coronavirus (COVID-19) had surfaced in Pakistan after the pandemic hit the Britain in start of February.

“There was not even a single case of the virus before it was reported in the United Kingdom. The pandemic hit the UK in start of February, while it reached Pakistan by end of the same month,” he said while rejecting the British media reports about the virus outbreak in the kingdom.

In a press release, he said the UK-based publications, including The Telegraph, The Sun and Daily Mail, had published baseless and misleading news stories in which they claimed that the UK had imported half of the coronavirus cases from Pakistan.

“How can it export the virus to the UK when there was not even a single case reported in Pakistan? [at that time],” he questioned.

The SAPM said the publications had done cheap and non-professional reporting by linking the rapid spread of virus in the UK with Pakistan. Several newspapers had given indication that the life of some 1.5 million British-Pakistanis were in danger after publication of such news story.

Citing the research study of the Oxford University, he said the UK had imported most of the coronavirus cases from other countries, including France, Italy and Spain.

“The global pandemic in the UK had at least 1,300 origins when it came to import of the virus,” Zulfi added.

He said the UK had reported some 80 percent of the coroanvirus cases between February 28 and March 29 while Pakistan had closed its airspace in mid-March.

“Nobody was allowed to travel overseas during the closure of airspace by Pakistan,” he reminded.

Zulfikar Bukhari said Pakistan’s airspace was closed when the coronavirus cases witnessed a spike in the UK.