Stranded students are being treated ‘like our own’, China assures Pakistan

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister, Wang Yi has assured his Pakistani counterpart that the stranded Pakistani students in coronavirus-hit China are being treated “like our own”.

The Chinese government is doing everything to ensure the safety, health and well-being of Pakistani students, he said in a telephonic conversation with Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Friday.

Qureshi thanked the Chinese authorities for extending full support and assistance to the Pakistani students in Wuhan and hoped that Beijing will continue to take best possible measures for the protection of Pakistani nationals in China, Foreign Office spokesperson Aisha Farooqui said in a statement.

The World Health Organisation declared a global emergency over the new coronavirus, as China reported Friday the death toll had climbed to 213 with nearly 10,000 infections.

Almost 500 Pakistanis are studying in various universities of Wuhan, which is in virtual lockdown, while the total number of Pakistani nationals in China is between 28,000 and 30,000 – most of them are students.

Earlier this week, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on National Health Services Dr Zafar Mirza disclosed that at least four Pakistani students tested positive for the mysterious pathogen.

On Thursday, the federal government said it would not evacuate Pakistani citizens – mostly students – from Wuhan.

During today’s telephonic conversation, Foreign Minister Qureshi conveyed his condolences on the loss of precious lives and lauded the relentless efforts undertaken by the Chinese government for the containment of the virus. He assured his Chinese counterpart that the government and the people of Pakistan stood firmly behind China in its resolute and momentous efforts to deal with the virus.

On behalf of the government, the foreign minister offered sending a field hospital to China, as well as sending group of doctors, to assist the neighbouring country in the recovery efforts.

FM Qureshi also hoped that the Chinese people under the leadership of President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang will overcome the enormous challenge and emerge stronger in its aftermath.

State Councilor Wang Yi, on behalf of Premier Li Keqiang, conveyed a special message of gratitude to Prime Minister Imran Khan underlining that Pakistan had shown tremendous support and solidarity with the Chinese people at this difficult time when they were fighting against spread of coronavirus.

He thanked Pakistan for the assistance it was rendering to help China deal with the outbreak of virus.

The Chinese foreign minister stressed that China was taking effective, speedy, and urgent measures to contain the virus as recognised by the global community. “The Director General of World Health Organisation has expressed full confidence in China’s abilities and efforts to contain the virus,” he added.

Wang Yi thanked Foreign Minister Qureshi for Pakistan’s offer of medical hospital as well sending a group of doctors to China.