ISLAMABAD - Four Pakistani students have got infected with corona virus in Wuhan, the city of Hubei province of China, Special Assistant to Prime Minister (SAPM) on Health Dr. Zafar Mirza confirmed on Wednesday.

Speaking at a press conference here and highlighting preventive measures being taken by Pakistan to deal with the coronavirus, Dr. Zafar said the government was in contact with the families of the Pakistanis students.

The SAPM also said that health situation the four victims of coronavirus was improving, saying that all the four suspects were admitted in hospitals and are in better health condition. However, he said that the identities of the infected students would be kept confidential and the Pakistani government was in contact with these students and their families.

“We have assured their families that the government will look after them,” he added.

The SAPM on health continued that there were around 30,000 Pakistanis in different provinces of China, including nearly 500 students in Wuhan city of Hubei province. He said inside Pakistan there was no confirmation of any case of corona virus.

He said that Chinese researchers had isolated this 5th type of corona virus on January 7, 2020 while patients’ deaths started in the month of December last year.

“Indication of the corona virus is similar to the respiratory infection which turns into pneumonia fever leading to death. But fatality rate with virus infection is only 3 per cent,” he maintained.

He said that the Pakistan government following the guidelines of the World Health Organization (WHO) had taken all preventive measures to control the spread, keeping suspects under observation and making a strategy to cope with the situation in case of emergency.

Dr. Zafar Mirza said that passengers travelling from China are being screened by three ways which adds giving them form, examining temperature and assessment of the temperature.

He said that an Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) has been established and National Institute of Health (NIH) has issued three advisories so far.

The SAPM on health said that EOC is holding its meeting after every 48 hours while a special core committee comprising 11 members from different departments, including NIH and NDMA meets daily to review the situation.

He said that the Chinese government has taken appreciable decision by quarantining the most infected area of country to control the spread.

Expressing concerns on the statement of SAPM on health, students and other Pakistani nationals said that the Pakistani government has still not planned any evacuation plan for its citizens to save them from the infection.

Talking to The Nation, Jazbia Shirin, a student at Anhui, said that the virus was spreading and people were being infected but the Pakistani government had not announced evacuation of its citizens. “Students who want to leave China and not infected are struggling to get their flights to return back home,” she added.

She said that health advices from Pakistan government were not enough as students were already following them.

Another student Hammad-ur-Rehman in Wuhan said: “What are they waiting for? Are they waiting for us to get infected with the virus?”

Another Pakistani in Beijing, Kashif said that when flights were being cancelled, Pakistan International Airlines had increased the airfare multiplying miseries of those who are still safe from the virus.

“Other countries are airlifting their students and PIA has increased airfare and flight operation of Islamabad to Beijing and then to Tokyo is also not available,” he maintained.

He said that one way ticket normally costing 3200 Chinese Yuans has increased to 4200 Yuans.

Meanwhile, a public health specialist Dr Saifur Rehman said that in the view of coronavirus outbreak in China, Government of Pakistan’s measures were highly appreciable for screening passengers at all portals of entry.

But something more can be done to keep Pakistan safer, he said.

Novel corona virus (2019-nCoV) can survive 28 days at lower temperatures, so passengers returning from China and nearby countries infected by coronavirus must be kept under observation (Quarantine) for 28 days in a separate health facility (Quarantine Facility), coronavirus is transmitted via droplet so it can easily be transmitted from person to person.

The health specialist said even if we keep exposed cases in separate rooms tertiary care hospitals for monitoring, still there is likely chance of spread of virus more.

“So what we can do to prevent Pakistan from this virus is to build a new hospital solely for this Quarantine purpose like China is building new hospital in Wuhan city. “We all know there is no vaccine and no specific treatment for this disease, only symptomatic treatment is given,” said Dr. Saif.