ISLAMABAD                  -            Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood yesterday said that the Pakistanis stranded abroad will be brought back in phases.

Chairing a high-level meeting here to discus the situation on coronavirus outbreak and suspension of the international flights, the FM said the government will not leave the stranded Pakistanis alone.

The meeting held at Ministry of Foreign Affairs was attended by Federal Minister for Aviation Ghulam Sarwar Khan, PM’s Special Assistant on Health Dr Zafar Mirza, Special Assistant on Overseas Pakistanis Zulfikar Bukhari, Special Assistant on National Security Dr Moeed Yousaf, Foreign Secretary, Sohail Mehmood, PM’s Special Assistant for Digital Pakistan, Tania Aidrus, Secretary Aviation Division Hassan Nasir Jami, Executive Director National Institute of Health General Amir Ikram and Chief Executive Officer Shaukat Khanum Hospital, Dr Faisal Sultan.

Foreign Minister Qureshi mentioned that the National Coordination Committee had taken decision on suspension of flight operation to control spread of Coronavirus.

Dr Zafar Mirza gave a briefing on risk assessment of Coronavirus cases in the country.

The Executive Director NIH updated the meeting on capacity of Coronavirus testing and other related facilities.

The meeting also discussed strategy post resumption of international flights on April 4, said an official statement.

Pakistan yesterday reported 20 deaths from novel coronavirus while the total number of cases surged to 1650.

At least 508 patients have been tested positive for the epidemic in Sindh, 144 in Balochistan, 618 in Punjab, 195 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 128 in Gilgit-Baltistan, 51 in Islamabad and six in Azad Kashmir. So far 28 patients have recovered in the country.