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Coronavirus death toll in China rises to 427

BEIJING: Novel Coronavirus has so far claimed 427 lives (225 in China, 1 in Hong Kong and one in Philippines) and infected over 20438 people in China.

However, according to WHO the outbreak does not constitute a pandemic (i.e. global spread of a new malady). Though no confirmations have been made across Africa or Latin America, over 24 countries have reported cases.

Today (4th of February, 2020) Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand have confirmed infections among those who had not traveled to China. Many nations including Pakistan and India are evacuating their citizens out of China. UK government told its citizens to leave China if they can.

Relevant pieces published earlier: 

Coronavirus: Pakistan resumes flight operations from China

3rd of February, 2020

ISLAMABAD: Special Assistant to PM on National Health Services Dr. Zafar Mirza has taken to the Twitter to announce arrival of 69 passengers from China.

“At Islamabad airport this morning – received passengers from China along with H.E. Chinese Ambassador in Pakistan CZ6007 brought 69 passengers including 57 Pakistanis and 12 Chinese. We supervised implementation of Airport SOPs & I interviewed passengers,” Dr. Zafar Mirza Tweeted. He further informed that National Institute of Health happens to harbor the facility to diagnose coronavirus.

As soon as WHO declared global health emergency Pakistan re-commenced the had halted flights to and from China. Direct operation between China and Pakistan resumed today (Monday 3rd of February, 2020) with the arrival of aforementioned flight here.

It is pertinent to mention here that the flight operation was suspended for few days due to outbreak of coronavirus in China.

Coronavirus victim treated via drug cocktail in Thailand

2nd of February, 2020

As over 305 people expired due to Coronavirus, according to Thailand’s Ministry of Health when a 71-year-old infected Chinese woman was given a cocktail of anti-flu drug oseltamivir mixed with lopinavir and ritonavir (anti-virals used to treat HIV) her condition ameliorated drastically on Sunday.

Doctor Kriengsak Attipornwanich has informed that the patient tested negative for the virus 48 hours after Thai doctors administered the combination: “The lab result for coronavirus turned negative in 48 hours…From being exhausted before, she could sit up in bed 12 hours later.”

Ministry that has got research conducted is awaiting the results in order to prove the findings. Till today Thailand has detected 19 cases of the Novel Coronavirus.

Coronavirus: 199 info. booths set up at Pak airports

2nd of February, 2020

ISLAMABAD: Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on National Health Services Dr. Zafar Mirza too to the Tweeter to inform that Pakistan could now diagnose Coronavirus.

“Alhamdolilah, as of today we have now capability of diagnosing Coronarivus in Pakistan. I want to applaud our NIH leadership and team for their hard work in securing the reagent for diagnosing,” Dr. Mirza stated. Dr. Mirza announced that from today (Sunday 2nd of February, 2020) or tomorrow, Pakistan would be conducting tests in order to determine the coronavirus.  It is pertinent to mention here that recently Japan donated the first consignment of reagents  to Pakistan facilitating the doctors here apropos detection of  coronavirus.

It may be recalled that due to absence of such facility Pakistan had earlier decided not to evacuate its citizens from Wuhan. He further told that 199 health information booths had been set up at many airports of Pakistan in order to contain the Coronavirus threat. Glad to announce GoP official airport guidelines for #coronavirus step-by-step guidance on screening; inflight & airport, and decisions about sending home, isolation, diagnosis & treatment. Commendable efforts of our expert leads in NCV Emergency Core Committee. Thank you,” Dr. Zafar Mirza Tweeted.

According to Dr. Zafar Mirza these booths would provide answers to queries about the mysterious malady. He further informed that coronavirus clinical care and prevention guidelines had also been completed including full instructions on case definition, inpatient/outpatient treatment, handling of diagnostic samples and even home care. Special Assistant on National Health further told that in order to provide assistance to the Pakistani community in China, the Embassy of Pakistan had established hotlines.

Coronavirus Epidemic: WHO declares global emergency

31st of January, 2020

GENEVA: WHO has declared a global emergency over the epidemic of Coronavirus that has claimed 213 lives in China so far.

WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus had stated yesterday (Thursday 30th of January, 2020): “Our greatest concern is the potential for the virus to spread to countries with weaker health systems…We must all act together now to limit further spread… We can only stop it together.”

It is pertinent to mention here that WHO had earlier downplayed the seriousness of the malady but when hundreds died, over 7,700  got infected and 81,000 people were kept under observation, it revised the risk assessment.

Coronavirus Epidemic: Pakistan stops China flight operations

31st of January, 2020

ISLAMABAD: As WHO has declared Coronavirus epidemic a global emergency and death toll in China reaches 213, Pakistan has decided to suspend flights to and from China until 2nd of February, 2020.

It is pertinent to mention here that PIA had been operating weekly two fights between China and Pakistan since May 2019. Earlier British Airways too had suspended flights to China.

While many countries, including neighboring India have commenced evacuating their citizens back home from the epicenter Wuhan, Pakistan on Thursday proclaimed that it was not advisable to bring its citizens back.

Yesterday (on Friday 30th of January, 2020) Opposition Senators slammed govt apropos not evacuating citizens from China. Stoppage of PIA flights will further augment the worries of Pakistanis stranded in China.

Coronavirus kills 170: 300 McDonald’s outlets closed in China

BEIJING: As Coronavirus spreads more and more businesses opt to close their doors in China.

According to sources an increasing number of fast-food chains have decided to jump off  the sinking ship by closing hundreds of branches down in China. McDonald’s and Starbucks were among the first companies to announce temporary closures late last week, in an attempt to prevent the spread of the virus among employees and customers.

Several major tourist attractions and hotels including the Shanghai Disney Resort and Inter Continental Hotels Group have also temporarily shut down. Coronavirus has till today had invaded Thailand, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam, Singapore, Nepal, France, Australia, Malaysia, Canada, and the US.

FO SpokespersonPakistan: Foreign Office Spokesperson Aisha Farooqui in Islamabad has said that all measures were being taken for the assistance, safety and welfare of Pakistani nationals in China. She informed that the diplomatic missions of Pakistan in China had contacted all the Pakistani students and were also in touch with the Chinese officials who have assured about the safety and well being of Pakistani nationals.

Advisor HealthMeanwhile, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health, Dr Zafar Mirza has stated that it was not advisable to evacuate Pakistanis from China as it was not in region’s larger interest: “We don’t want to take any emotional decision which will cause this virus to spread further. It is also our responsibility to ensure that our citizens in Wuhan are being properly taken care of and see to it whether they are being provided food or items of daily use or not…I can show you many messages from Pakistani students in Wuhan who have told us that Chinese authorities are taking very good care of them.

Coronavirus Outbreak: British Airways suspends flights to China, PM calls Military in!

29th of January, 2020

LONDON: Following UK government’s warning against travel to China where till today 132 people died due to outbreak of mysterious Coronavirus, British Airways has suspended its flights to the country.

According to details no direct flights to the mainland will be available during the month of January and February, 2020. Though BA operates daily flights from London to Shanghai and Beijing.

“We apologize to customers for the inconvenience, but the safety of our customers and crew is always our priority. Customers due to travel to or from China in the coming days can find more information on BA.com,” the airline stated.

There have been no confirmed cases of coronavirus in the country yet Public Health England has warned it might  have reached the United Kingdom.

Meanwhile, Chinese President Xi Jinping has today ordered military to support the government’s efforts to contain the mysterious Coronavirus outbreak that has killed 132 people, infected six thousand others including six foreigners. Presently, people of seventeen countries have contracted the malady.

Coronavirus: 4 Pakistani students in China tested +ve

29th of January, 2020

ISLAMABAD: Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Health Dr Zafar Mirza speaking to journalists here today has confirmed that four Pakistani students in China had tested positive for the Coronavirus.

Dr. Zafar Mirza said that the concerned authorities were in constant contact with the Pakistani diplomatic mission in China and Foreign Office in this respect.

According to Dr. Zafar Mirza there was not a single confirmed case of Coronavirus in Pakistan.

Precautionary measures: 

i) Wash your hands regularly and use sanitizer.

ii) Since fever, cough and respiratory problems have been identified as early symptoms of coronavirus contact a doctor if you have any symptoms.

iii) Wear a face-mask and avoid close contact with anyone with a cough or flu.

iv) Cover your mouth and nose with your hand or tissue while coughing or sneezing. Discard the tissue immediately and wash/sanitize your hands.

v) Avoid eating under-cooked meat. Handle Raw meet carefully.

Alarmingly the Coronavirus has spread to every province and region of China. According to recent figures there are 5,974 confirmed cases of the virus in mainland China, including 132 deaths. Scientists all over the world are attempting to develop a vaccine capable of stopping the spread of a mysterious new coronavirus. 

Coronavirus (2020) vs Sars (2003)

Corona vs Sars

Coronavirus: Envoy says no Pakistani affected in China

27th of January, 2020

BEIJING: H. E. Ms. Naghmana Hashmi, Pak Envoy here has confirmed that no Pakistani national residing in China has so far been affected by the coronavirus.

According to her Pakistan’s Embassy here was in constant touch with the Chinese authorities and was monitoring the situation. She said the embassy was also attempting to contact Pakistani nationals who could reach the diplomatic missions in China any time and details of the embassy officials had been shared on Pak Embassy’s website. H. E. informed that Chinese authorities were using all available resources to check the spread of the virus.

Coronavirus: Can Pakistan handle an outbreak?

27th of January, 2020

KARACHI: Keen observation of the state of affairs in Pakistan apropos the health facilities shows that the country is not ready to handle an epidemic like Novel Coronavirus.

A Chinese man, suspected of carrying Coronavirus, had been admitted to Multan Hospital recently. Keeping in mind the frequency of inbound and outbound flights between China and Pakistan (twenty per week) is it not possible that more infected people have already landed here?

Fortunately, Pakistan preempted the first suspected case by screening passengers boarding inbound PIA flights in Beijing and installing thermal scanners at Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad. Nevertheless, it is high time the authorities formulate a policy enabling the various authorities coordinate in order to tackle the malady.

Coronavirus: 500 Pakistani students stuck in the epicenter Wuhan

26th of January, 2020

BEIJING: Diplomatic Mission here has confirmed that 500 Pakistani students are stuck in Wuhan, the epicenter of Novel Coronavirus.

However, Foreign Office in Islamabad has stated that there was no report of infection among Pakistanis in China: “There is no report of infection in any Pakistani community member thus far.” 
Foreign InfectionsThe virus that has claimed 56 lives so far has reached as far as Australia (4 cases), USA (3 cases) and Canada (1 Case). 

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FO informed that Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Pakistani diplomatic missions in China that were actively monitoring the situation were in touch with the Pakistani community as well as Chinese authorities: “The current situation calls for greater patience and perseverance!”

FO has advised the Pakistani students and members of the community based in China to regularly visit the Pak Embassy’s website and register themselves online.

It is pertinent to mention here that there are 28,000 Pakistani students are enrolled in institutions all over China. Moreover, 800 resident traders and  1,500 Pakistani traders who travel to China frequently are presently in China: “There are close to 500 students in Wuhan alone.

“These numbers have to take into account the fact that many of our students come to China either on self financing or on the scholarships offered by the Chinese and they don’t always register with the Embassy.

“Similarly, our traders and other visitors from Pakistan also don’t always register with the Embassy. So the Embassy has an approximate estimation. Pakistani community members and students in Wuhan are advised to comply with the efforts of Chinese health authorities for curbing the spread of novel coronavirus…

“The Embassy urges Pakistani students to remain vigilant and adopt good personal hygiene practices. In case of any reports of viral infection in members of Pakistani community/students, it is requested to cooperate with local health authorities and share immediately the complete information with Pakistan’s embassy in Beijing.”

Meanwhile, in Pakistan NDMA is taking precautionary measures to contain the mysterious Novel Coronavirus. Three more thermal scanners are being imported to be installed at Karachi, Islamabad and Lahore airports.

Newspakistan.tv

M M Alam

M. M. Alam is a Pakistan-based working journalist since 1981. Karachi University faculty gold medalist Alam began his career four decades ago by writing for Dawn, Pakistan’s highest circulating English daily. He has worked for region’s leading publications, global aviation periodicals including Rotors (of USA) and vetted New York Times as permanent employee of daily Express Tribune. Alam regularly covers international aviation and defense-related events including Salon Du Bourget (France), Farnborough (United Kingdom), Dubai (UAE). Alam has reported thousands of events and interviewed hundreds of people in Pakistan, UAE, EU, UK and USA. Being Francophone Alam also coordinates with a number of French publications.