LAHORE: Two pilots of the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) who had recently flown back from Canada have been confirmed to have contracted the novel coronavirus, according to Punjab Minister for Health Yasmin Rashid.
“The coronavirus tests of two PIA pilots and three other members of the crew on a flight that recently flew back from Canada were carried out and the pilots tested positive,” she told the media on Monday.
According to the details, the pilots have been shifted to a private hospital in Lahore for treatment where their condition is getting better. The other three crew members have been told to self-isolate in line with international protocols.
Earlier on Sunday, PIA had suspended its operations from Karachi, rejecting reports that any of its pilots flying back from Britain had contracted the coronavirus.
In a statement issued Sunday, the national carrier clarified its views on quarantining its aviation staff in Karachi.
“The PIA is strictly abiding by the instructions issued by the Government of Pakistan,” its spokesperson Abdullah Khan had said.
“The instructions include measures related to disinfecting the airplane as well as the crew’s health and safety,” Khan added, noting that the federal government’s instructions were being followed at all airports in the country.
The incident that took place at Karachi airport was “against the instructions issued by the Government of Pakistan on aviation staff”, he said, adding that three hours prior to the plane with no passengers was scheduled to arrive from London, all officials had been informed.
However, the spokesperson stressed that despite instructions, the Sindh health department’s officials insisted on forcefully quarantining the pilots.