PIA resumed flight from China

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ISLAMABAD: The direct flight operations between China and Pakistan resumed on Monday with the arrival of two airplanes that landed at the Islamabad International Airport (IIAP) carrying around 155 passengers.

“The air operation with China is restored with arrival of the two flights here,” a spokesman for the Aviation Division said in a statement. The flights included members of a group of Pakistani students and community members stranded in Ürümqi due to the suspension of flights in the wake of the new coronavirus outbreak in China. They were earlier granted an 11-day visa extension by Chinese authorities.

The Civil Aviation Authority had temporarily suspended the flight operation few days back. China Southern Airlines flight CZ5241 landed at the Islamabad airport, carrying 94 passengers from Urumqi, while 64 passengers reached here from China through a special flight, CZ6007.

The passengers submitted their health declaration forms before clearance from the immigration desks.

Later, addressing a press conference, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on National Health Services Dr Zafar Mirza said Pakistan is not having even a single patient of coronavirus so far. “The seven suspected persons from different cities were tested in Pakistan for coronavirus but their samples were found to be negative which is a good omen,” he said the press conference along with Chinese Ambassador Yao Jing. “We have made all arrangements at the airports for proper screening of passengers coming from China and collecting their health forms. Those completing their quarantine period of 14 days are being allowed to board the plane from China,” he said, adding that the SoPs for clinical care and prevention at the airports have been issued and shared with the provincial authorities to take them on board.

He said Pakistan has received the testing kits from different countries to diagnose the virus and has made all the arrangements at airports to ensure proper screening of the passengers entering Pakistan from China. He said the flight operations from China were suspended temporarily due to New Year celebrations in the first week of February. The operation has resumed on Monday and all the passengers were screened at the airports while no patient was required to be kept under observation, he added.

Dr Mirza, who himself was present at the Islamabad airport to check the screening arrangements for the initial passengers who came from China on Monday, said, “Completing quarantine period before leaving China is an effective barrier to prevent our citizens from disease. We are now focusing on strengthening arrangements at the airports at the provincial level.” The treatment for coronavirus has not been discovered yet, however the patient affected from the virus starts recovering with improvement in his immune system, he observed.

Speaking on the occasion, Chinese Ambassador Yao Jing said  that so far people leaving China are being screened over a 14-day period. However, nobody from Hubei province or the city of Wuhan, ground zero for the outbreak, had been allowed to travel domestically or internationally. “Chinese consider Pakistani people as their fellow citizens and the Chinese government is taking care of all the needs of the Pakistani students there,” he said, and assured that no one will be allowed to leave China without completion of 14-day quarantine period. “Today, 12 Chinese arrived in Pakistan including four businessmen and they were permitted to arrive in Pakistan after strict monitoring,” he added.

He explained that so far people leaving China are being screened over a 14-day period. However, nobody from Hubei province or the city of Wuhan, ground zero for the outbreak, had been allowed to travel domestically or internationally. “Chinese consider Pakistani people as their fellow citizens and the Chinese government is taking care of all the needs of the Pakistani students there,” he said, and assured that no one will be allowed to leave China without completion of 14-day quarantine period. “Today, 12 Chinese arrived in Pakistan including four businessmen and they were permitted to arrive in Pakistan after strict monitoring,” he added.

Chinese government is paying full attention to the necessities of Pakistanis living there. So far, he revealed, around 371 patients have died in China due to coronavirus while 500 patients have recovered too. Chinese government is taking every possible measure to control the outbreak of the virus, he said, adding that a public health emergency has been imposed and all the ceremonies have been cancelled. He said the Chinese government is regularly informing the world about its efforts to cope with this challenge and the World Health Organization has acknowledged China’s efforts for controlling the virus.

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