ISLAMABAD: Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Health Dr Zafar Mirza on Sunday said that the Pakistani students who were stranded in the Chinese city of Wuhan, during the peak of the country's Covid-19 outbreak, are now thanking the government for not evacuating them.
Briefing a team of doctors from China at the National Institute of Health (NIH) in Islamabad, Zafar said: "We decided — it was a tough decision for us — against evacuating our students from Wuhan. We worked very closely with the Chinese government and just followed their recommendations.
"Today, now that the disease is spreading in Pakistan, the same students are thanking the government for not evacuating them and requesting us to take care of their families in the same way they were looked after by the Chinese government."
He said that when President Arif Alvi Umar and Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi visited China recently, they spoke to the students in Wuhan through Skype.
"They [students] thanked the president and said that the decision [to not bring them back] was the right thing to do, even though their families were pressuring the government to do so," he added.
The PM's aide went on to say that China has written a new chapter in the history of public health by putting approximately 60 million people under lockdown.
"The world has a lot to learn from China regarding the prevention and control of communicable diseases," he said.
Expressing his gratitude to the Chinese government for their cooperation by providing medical supplies and expertise during this difficult time, Mirza said: "It is truly remarkable that out of all the cases reported in Pakistan, not a single patient has a travel history to China.
"This was only achieved through cooperation and coordination between the two countries," he said.
Earlier, NIH Executive Director Major General Aamer Ikram welcomed the delegation and briefed them about the coronavirus outbreak in the country.
He said that all of NIH's departments are coordinating national response activities for Covid-19, adding that China has once again shown to the world that it is Pakistan's ally.