ISLAMABAD - Ambassador of Pakistan to the People’s Republic of China, Naghmana Hashmi, said on Sunday that due to lack of permission to visit the coronavirus-hit Wuhan, they could not reach stranded Pakistani students.

The Pakistani envoy said that until the quarantine period is completed there is a complete lockdown in Wuhan, otherwise, they would have reached the Pakistani students.

She said that the Pakistani officials are in contact with their Chinese counterparts in Beijing and Wuhan and will promptly reply to any query by a Pakistani citizen in China. The envoy said that they are also giving psychological assistance to the citizens stranded in the quarantined areas.

The death toll from the novel coronavirus surged past 800 in mainland China on Sunday, overtaking global fatalities in the 2002-03 SARS epidemic, even as the World Health Organization said the outbreak appeared to be “stabilising”. With 89 more people dying — most in Hubei, the province at the centre of the outbreak — the toll is now higher than the 774 killed worldwide by Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome nearly two decades ago, according to figures from national health authorities.