ISLAMABADS               -          pecial Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on National Security Dr Moeed Yousuf Saturday

strongly dispelled the rumors regarding lockdown of cities in the wake of coronavirus

disease (COVID-19), saying “the government has not taken any decision in that regard.”Addressing a press conference

along with SAPM on Health Dr Zafar Mirza and National Disaster Management Authority

(NDMA) Chairman Lt Gen Muhammad Afzal, he said, “No decision had been made in the yesterday’s meeting regarding the lockdown of cities. People should not be panic, and the information

coming from the government

should be trusted.” He said fakes news circulating on social media had no authenticity

and people should not give attention to such rumors. He said it had also been decided

to temporary suspend the international flight operations

to Pakistan for a period of two week. “No passenger, private and chartered flights would be allowed to land in Pakistan for two weeks starting

from today March, 21 to till April 4,” he said.However, the SAPM said the suspension would not be applicable

on the diplomats, special

and cargo aircraft. He said Pakistan International Airlines aircraft presently outside the country would be allowed to return to Pakistan with booked passengers.“It was a difficult decision but it has been taken in the best interest of the people of Pakistan,” he said. “We were expecting

about 0.2 million passengers

from various countries during next two weeks including

Pakistanis,” he added.He said missions and embassies

abroad had been advised to facilitate the people affected by the restriction, adding after two week, the condition to produce certificate of negative test result for the coronavirus would not be required from the passengers.

Upon their arrival, he said the screening on all the airports would be further tightened.National Disaster Management

Authority (NDMA) Chairman

Lt Gen Muhammad Afzal said the objective of suspension

of international flights was to secure the country borders.He said an effective screening

mechanism had been put in place at all the airports. He further said about 600 rooms in Chaman and 300 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa would be constructed

for the quarantine purpose, while 1,000 more rooms would be built in coming 10 to 15 days.He said a proposal was also under consideration to book hotels for the passengers coming

from abroad to quarantine them. The government had allocated

sufficient amounts for the procurement of medical equipment. To make the import

easy, he said the government

had abolished sales tax. He urged the importer to take benefit from the offers given by the government.The NDMA chairman said China was extending full support

to Pakistan and dispatched

around 20,000 testing kits and 10 scanners. He said, Alibaba owners had also donated

50,000 masks, 50,000 testing kits to Pakistan. He said the ventilators were not available

in the international market,

however, with the Chinese help, Pakistan had been able to book around 800 ventilators.He told that China would provide

100 ventilators to Pakistan in the coming days. 200,000 N-95 face masks had been ordered

mainly for the hospital workers, he added.He expressed the hope that about 80,000 testing kits would reach Pakistan in next 10 to 12 days and these would be dispatched

to the provinces. Face masks had also been distributed

among the provinces, GB and