ISLAMABAD - Pakistan yesterday asked its nationals to remain vigilant amid Corona virus outbreak in Wuhan, China.

The Foreign Ministry said that it was actively monitoring the situation of corona virus outbreak in Wuhan through the embassy in Beijing.

“The Embassy in Beijing and other sub-missions in China are also in touch with the Pakistani community as well as Chinese authorities,” said a foreign ministry statement issued here.

The ministry said more than 500 students and other community members in Wuhan, and in other parts of China, were safe.

“There is no report of infection in any Pakistani community member thus far. The community has been re-assured of full support and requested to follow health protocols issued by the Chinese authorities and stay indoors. The current situation calls for greater patience and perseverance,” said the statement.

Noting the increase in the number of cases and its human-to-human transmission, the Ministry of Health of China has put additional measures to reduce the risks associated with the viral infection, it said. “We laud the resolute efforts of Chinese authorities in dealing with the outbreak of the virus,” the statement added.

Corona virus infection

Frequent travel of Pakistani and Chinese nationals has sparked fears of possible Corona virus infection. In a wake of the virus outbreak in China, the National Disaster Management Authority has taken precautionary measures to prevent it from spreading in Pakistan.

NDMA spokesperson said it had decided to import three more thermal scanners in this regard. He said these will be installed at airports of Karachi, Islamabad and Lahore.

The concerned departments have also strengthened surveillance, quarantine and case management systems.

Pakistani students and community members have been advised to regularly visit the embassy’s website www.pakbj.org. Those who are not yet registered were also being encouraged to register with the Embassy online.

The Ministry of Health of China has put in additional precautionary measures to reduce the risks associated with the corona virus infection.

The local government of Wuhan has announced that all public transportation in the city including long-distanced travelling shall remain temporarily suspended till further instructions. All flights and trains scheduled to depart from Wuhan would remain cancelled to contain the spread of viral infection.

Pakistani community members and students in Wuhan were advised to cooperate with Chinese health authorities for curbing the spread of virus; understand the prevention and control measures taken and comply with official instructions.

Pakistan’s embassy in China has urged Pakistani students to remain vigilant while adopting good preventive measures. They were asked to frequently clean hands by using alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.

“When coughing and sneezing cover mouth and nose with flexed elbow or tissue; it should be immediately followed by disposing-off the tissue and washing hands,” the advisory said.

It added: “Avoid close contact with anyone who has fever and cough. In case of fever, cough and difficulty in breathing, immediately seek medical care early and share previous travel history with the health care provider. While visiting live markets in areas currently experiencing cases of novel coronavirus, avoid direct unprotected contact with live animals and surfaces in contact with animals.”

It further said: “The consumption of raw or under-cooked animal products should be avoided. Raw meat, milk or animal organs should be handled with care, to avoid cross-contamination with uncooked foods, as per good food safety practices. As it is still not clear which kind of meat is actual cause of the infection, it is better to avoid consumption of meat, eggs and milk altogether for the time being.”

In order to facilitate the stay of foreign nationals whose visa have expired after January 23 - due to overstay caused by suspension of transportation - the Single Window for Foreign Business Handling at Wuhan Citizens Home, run by Exit and Entry Administration Department of Wuhan Public Security Bureau, would accept foreign nationals applications for renewal of stay and residence permits.

The foreign ministry directed the embassy of Pakistan to continue its outreach with community members and Pakistani students in Wuhan.  “In case of any reports of viral infection in members of Pakistani community/students, it is requested to cooperate with local health authorities and share immediately the complete information with Pakistan’s embassy in Beijing,” the statement said.

The Pakistanis were urged to extend complete cooperation to local authorities, avoid unnecessary social media hype and ignore unconfirmed news.

 

 

China virus death toll swells to 56, with 2,000 infected

 

Agencies add: More than 2,000 people globally have been infected with a new coronavirus, the vast majority of them in China, where 56 people have died from the disease, according to figures released on Sunday.

 

President Xi Jinping said during a politburo meeting on Saturday that China was facing a “grave situation”, as health authorities around the world scrambled to prevent a pandemic.

 

The virus, believed to have originated late last year in a seafood market in the central Chinese city of Wuhan that was illegally selling wildlife, has spread to Chinese cities including Beijing and Shanghai, as well as the United States, Thailand, South Korea, Japan, Australia, France and Canada.

 

The World Health Organisation this week stopped short of calling the outbreak a global health emergency, but some health experts question whether China can continue to contain the epidemic.

 

On Sunday, China confirmed 1,975 cases of patients infected with the new coronavirus as of Jan. 25, while the death toll from the virus has risen to 56, state broadcaster CCTV reported.

 

The outbreak has prompted widening curbs on movements within China, with Wuhan, a city of 11 million, on virtual lockdown, with transports links all-but severed except for emergency vehicles.

 

The U.S. State Department said on Sunday it will relocate personnel at its Wuhan consulate to the United States and will offer a limited number of seats to private U.S. citizens on a Jan. 28 flight to San Francisco.

 

Health authorities in Beijing urged people not to shake hands but instead salute using a traditional cupped-hand gesture. The advice was sent in a text message that went out to mobile phone users in the city on Sunday morning.

 

On Saturday, Canada declared the first “presumptive” confirmed case of the virus in a resident who had returned from Wuhan. The patient, a male in his 50s, arrived in Toronto on Jan. 22 and was hospitalised the next day after developing symptoms of respiratory illness, officials said.

 

The outbreak has overshadowed the start of the Lunar New Year, which is typically a festive time of year, with public events cancelled and many tourist sites shut. Many people on social media have been calling for the week-long holiday to be extended to help prevent further spread of the virus.

 

Transportation curbs continued to widen, with the northern city of Tianjin to shut all inter-province shuttle buses from Jan. 27, the official People’s Daily reported on Sunday. It will halt all group tours, both at home and abroad, from Monday.

 

On Saturday, Hong Kong declared a virus emergency, scrapped celebrations and restricted links to mainland China, while Australia confirmed its first four cases, Malaysia confirmed four and France reported Europe’s first cases on Friday.