Pakistan to resume flight operations to China

Islamabad, Feb 3 (IANS): Amid the global outbreak of deadly China-originated novel coronavirus, Pakistan has decided to resume its flight operations to te Asian giant, an aviation official said.

Joint Secretary Aviation Division Abdul Sattar Khokhar said that the flight operations between the two countries will resume on Monday, The Express Tribune reported.

On January 31, Pakistan had suspended flights to China in the wake of the deadly virus outbreak which has killed 361 people in China as of Sunday night.

"Southern China Airlines's flight carrying 150 passengers will land at the Islamabad airport on Monday at 9 in the morning," Khokhar said, adding that the notification regarding the flights suspension was issued till February 2.

Meanwhile, the Pakistan government was also ramping up its defences against the contagion virus with Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa declaring its five northern districts "most sensitive" due to fear of the mysterious illness.

Administration officials identified these districts as Kohistan, Shangla, Battagram, Mansehra and Abbottabad.

"We are on high alert due to the movement of Chinese citizens in the region," Altaf Hussain, the deputy commissioner of Battagram, told The Express Tribune.

Almost 500 Pakistanis are studying in various universities of Wuhan, the epicentre of the outbreak which is in virtual lockdown.

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

But on Saturday, Mirza said that the decision of non-repatriation of Pakistani citizens from China was final, saying that the government had "complete trust" in Beijing's policies to combat the epidemic.

He further said that a comprehensive plan had been devised to ensure that when flights from China to Pakistan resume, passengers are screened properly.

On Sunday, Mirza confirmed that all the seven suspected coronavirus patients in Pakistan tested negative.


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