A task force comprising two Pakistani diplomats has arrived in Wuhan to assist the students trapped in the virus-hit Chinese city, the Foreign Office (FO) said on Tuesday.

“On Pakistan’s request, China allowed a two-member special Task Force from the Pakistan Embassy in Beijing to go to Wuhan city to meet our students and coordinate all assistance to them,” FO Spokesperson Aisha Farooqui tweeted.

The official added that the task force would be permanently deployed in Wuhan and will “maintain close liaison” with the Chinese authorities at the epicenter of the coronavirus.

The spokesperson stated that the diplomats would return to Beijing once the lockdown in Wuhan is lifted and the situation in the city has stabilised.

China has put its Hubei province on lock down in an attempt to contain the virus, with tens of millions of people placed under effective quarantine in the province.

A foreign ministry official on Friday had told the Islamabad High Court that Pakistan has dispatched two diplomats to the virus-hit city to assess the problems being faced by Pakistani students.

The official had shared the details while the court was hearing a petition filed by parents of Pakistani students stuck in China.

Earlier, on Saturday, Farooqui had shared that the FO has established a hotline to facilitate contact with Pakistani students and citizens stuck in Wuhan.

Last month, Pakistani students in China had said they were terrified and were “being kept in one room.”. It was learnt that a few of the students had tested positive for the corona-virus, but they have since recovered.

Soaring death toll

The death toll from China’s corona-virus epidemic jumped to 1,868 on Tuesday after 98 more people died, according to the Chinese National Health Commission.

Nearly 72,500 people nationwide have been infected by the Covid-19 strain of the virus, which first emerged in December before spiraling into a nationwide epidemic.

There were 1,886 new cases reported Tuesday — a decline on Monday’s figure, and the lowest single-day figure of new cases so far this month.

Most of the deaths were in Hubei province, the hard-hit epicenter of the outbreak, with five reported elsewhere in the country. 

Published On Public Hours February 18th, 2020

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