Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Wednesday assured that nation that he was completely healthy but had “voluntarily decided” to self-isolate for five days after his return from China in order to “give a message”.
“I am completely healthy […] but a message needs to be given that we should follow the guidance provided by our experts. I’m not doing this for myself, but for the people surrounding me — my family, my friends. I am playing a responsible role and we should all do the same,” he said in a televised press conference.
Talking about his trip to China alongside President Arif Alvi, the foreign minister said the Chinese leadership had thanked Pakistan for the “emotional support at a difficult time”.
Qureshi said the Chinese leadership told him that Pakistan stood by China at a difficult time and now the country was ready to support Pakistan.
“They told me that when they were facing a difficult time, Pakistan stood with them. Now they said if you need our help, we will stand with you, shoulder to shoulder.”
The foreign minister said China offered Pakistan its expertise, medical supplies, including testing kits, protective gear and medical equipment.
He said Pakistan should “acknowledge that this [coronavirus] challenge is of a global nature”, noting that developed countries including Italy and the United States were in a crisis despite having more resources.
The foreign minister further said that when the coronavirus crisis was at its peak in China, the Chinese government issued precautionary directions which were extensively followed by the people.
“The people did not criticise [the measures]. Of course, there will be difficulties when you ask people to limit themselves to their homes or not to go to work. The economy also came under pressure, that was unavoidable. But they tolerated everything and preferred humanity and saving human lives.
“Now that they are coming out of it, the next phase for them is to think of ways to revive their economic activity and industrial output so that the economy does not have to suffer from long-term negative impacts.”
Qureshi urged the nation to unite in the “battle against coronavirus”, and said: “We cannot fight [against COVID-19] if we are divided as a nation. We will succeed if we fight together, when the federal government, provincial governments, laymen and institutions work together.”
He told people to follow the directions of health experts in order to prevent the virus from spreading further.
The foreign minister also addressed the families of the Pakistani students in Wuhan and assured them that “there was nothing to worry about”.
So far, Pakistan has reported a total of 249 cases, a bulk of which have been detected in Sindh
Published on Public Hours March 18th, 2020