3 planes carrying Pakistanis from China arrive in Islamabad

3 planes carrying Pakistanis from China arrive in Islamabad

Islamabad (Staff Report/Agencies): Three flights carrying passengers from virus-hit China arrived in Islamabad on Monday as flight operations between the two countries resumed.

Flights between the two countries were earlier suspended after the World Health Organisation declared the Wuhan coronavirus as a global health emergency. Pakistan on Friday had halted flights to and from China with immediate effect till February 2.

Following the resumption of flights, two flights carrying Pakistanis arrived from China, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Health Dr Zafar Mirza confirmed.

Taking to Twitter, Mirza said: "We supervised implementation of 'Airport SOPs' and I interviewed passengers."

Dr Zafar Mirza along with Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Lijian Zhao received the 69 passengers.

The first — a Qatar Airlines flight — arrived from Doha, carrying 40 students. Health department staff conducted medical examinations of all the students at the Islamabad airport after which they were permitted to go home.

A second flight — a China Southern Airlines flight CZ6007 — brought 69 passengers including 57 Pakistanis and 12 Chinese.

According to aviation officials, the passengers are on board the plane, where a checkup for coronavirus is being conducted.

The third flight, carrying 86 passengers, also arrived at the Islamabad International Airport, directly from China.

China’s death toll from a new coronavirus jumped above 360 on Monday to surpass the number of fatalities of its SARS crisis two decades ago, with dozens of people dying in the epicentre’s quarantined ground-zero.

The 57 confirmed new deaths was the single-biggest increase since the virus was detected late last year in the central city of Wuhan, where it is believed to have jumped from animals at a market into humans.

The virus has since spread to more than 24 countries, despite many governments imposing unprecedented travel bans on people coming from China.