–Chinese envoy to Islamabad says students are ‘safe and sound’
A group of Pakistani students has demanded that the government make efforts to rescue them from the coronavirus-hit Chinese city of Wuhan, according to a video uploaded on social media, as the Chinese ambassador to Pakistan said that over 500 Pakistani students were being “well attended and looked after by local authorities”.
Wuhan has been under a virtual lockdown for days, with transport suspended and citizens told to stay home as the death toll from the viral epidemic that originated in the city soared to 80.
New infections are being reported as major countries step up efforts to evacuate their citizens from Wuhan. The United States, Germany and France are among several countries planning to take such measures.
Hafsah Tayab, one of the students stuck in the city of Wuhan, told a local news channel that other countries are planning to get their citizens out of the city through airplanes.
“Embassies of other countries [excluding Pakistan] are rescuing their citizens. There are over 500 Pakistani students in Wuhan. If even one of them gets affected, the others will be in danger,” she warned.
“There is a shortage of essentials and if this situation persists, we will run out of food very soon,” Tayab said in the video message, adding that she and her fellow students have been confined to the city.
“We plead that the authorities take notice of our situation on a humanitarian basis and do something about it. We will be grateful to you all our lives,” another student can be heard saying in the video.
Pls share it. Massage from Pakistan students in Wuhan pic.twitter.com/g3iZcAbFnK
— Faysal (@faysalkhurshid1) January 26, 2020
According to a student from the Wuhan University of Science and Technology, there are about 200 Pakistani students in the institute, and a total of 2,000 in other universities of the city.
“A few days ago, Pakistani students stuck in Wuhan were very scared. However, the Pakistani embassy in Beijing has made efforts to provide us with what we need,” Tayab said while speaking to the news channel. “The Pakistani authorities have assured us that they will get us out of the city like other countries,” Tayab added.
The Foreign Office (FO) has confirmed that efforts are being made to help out the students.
“The officials are in constant touch with Chinese authorities in order to make necessary arrangements for Pakistanis struck in affected areas, and a special briefing for all the embassies in Beijing has been scheduled today,” FO Spokesperson Aaisha Forooqui said.
Meanwhile, Chinese Ambassador Yao Jing on Monday said that the Pakistani students stranded in Wuhan were “safe and sound” from coronavirus.
“They are well attended and looked after by the local government of the province as well as the central government. The Pakistani Embassy in Beijing is also following the situation and providing whatever assistance it can to the Pakistanis in Wuhan,” said the ambassador amid reports of the outbreak of the deadly virus.
The envoy said that since the outbreak, the Chinese and Pakistani governments are working closely to manage the situation. “Right now, the Chinese and Pakistani governments are in close coordination to extend all due and necessary assistance for their life, study and stay in China. We are also following the Chinese community in Pakistan and have found three suspicious cases but there is no confirmed case of the virus in Pakistan as yet,” the envoy said.
“We appreciate the Pakistani government, in particular, the Ministry of Health, for monitoring the situation very closely. Both governments are exchanging and sharing information regarding possible medical assistance and medial preparations,” the ambassador added.
“We believe that with the understanding and support of the Pakistani nation, the Chinese government and people will have the confidence, determination to overcome this temporary difficulty. And we will restore normal life very soon,” the ambassador concluded.