MULTAN - The 24-hour long standoff between the administration of quarantine centre and the visitors, who had returned from Iran and were kept at the Labour Welfare Complex quarantine ended on Saturday afternoon as over 500 visitors left for their hometowns.

While the remaining were completing the formal procedures before leaving, The Nation has learnt on Saturday.

Sources at quarantine said that a total of 1,160 visitors were kept at the centre and the process to send all of them back was underway.

“The visitors from Attock, Rawalpindi, Islamabad and Gilgit Baltistan (GB) have left while those from Chakwal, Hafizabad, Mandi Bahauddin and adjoining areas are boarding their busses,” sources added.

Earlier on Friday, the quarantine administration had loaded all visitors on busses for sending them back to their hometowns.

“To our surprise, they ordered us to disembark and offload our luggage. When we inquired about the reasons, they did not answer our question,” said a visitor while talking to The Nation on phone on condition of anonymity.

The order sparked the visitors and they shouted slogans against government. Many of them went on hunger strike and refused to go to their cells, insisting to spend entire night under the open sky.

The Young Doctors Association (YDA) claimed that the protesters held medical staff hostage and refused to release them until their demand was not accepted.

“They took the medical staff hostage Friday afternoon and kept them hostage until a delegation of YDA visited  the centre and convinced the protesters to release them,” said Dr Faran Aslam, president of YDA, while talking to the media.

Health sources said that the blood samples of all the persons at the centre were being taken again. “We’re repeating their blood tests.