ISLAMABAD: Dr Moeed Yusuf, special assistant to the prime minister on national security, on Thursday denied the impression that Pakistan has been a source of the coronavirus in other countries, saying that the country has “been the most responsible” in the world.
Last week, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) temporarily stopped receiving passengers on flights coming from Pakistan. The suspension, the UAE civil aviation authority said, will last until a special laboratory to conduct coronavirus tests is established. The decision was taken after as many as 30 passengers aboard an Emirates flight tested positive for coronavirus.
Addressing a press conference in Islamabad, Yusuf said: “Over the past three months, Pakistan conducted tests and quarantined several people so that they won’t be the source of spread. No one appreciated us for that […] We will not allow Pakistan to be singled out.”
He said that Pakistan’s government had also contacted the British High Commission and the latter’s officials had assured that this was not the position of the United Kingdom’s government.
Yusuf told reporters that only 30 people who had travelled from Pakistan had tested positive. “This [impression to ‘export’ coronavirus] is absolutely false,” he said.
Yusuf also urged people to avoid unnecessary travel as the government “cannot guarantee that the airspace will remain open three weeks from now”.
He said that Pakistan has been “the most responsible among all developing countries in repatriating people as well as sending them away”.
According to him, any passenger who is showing symptoms will not be allowed to leave the country. The SAPM told people to follow the guidelines set by the airlines they are travelling from and their destination countries as it would be a source of embarrassment for the country if the rules were violated.