No Pakistanis in China affected by coronavirus — Pakistan’s envoy to Beijing

Pakistani students attend a class at Yanshan University in Qinhuangdao, Hebei Province, China Dec. 14, 2017. (Photo Courtesy: VCG Photo/File)
Short Url
Updated 26 January 2020

No Pakistanis in China affected by coronavirus — Pakistan’s envoy to Beijing

  • Says no Pakistanis in China infected with disease so far
  • Over 28,000 Pakistani students and over 2,000 traders frequent cities across China

ISLAMABAD: Amid heightened panic among thousands of Pakistanis in China during the early days of a deadly coronavirus outbreak, Pakistan’s envoy to Beijing said on Sunday no Pakistanis in the country had been affected by the disease so far, while urging calm.
There are over 28,000 Pakistani students studying all over China, 800 resident traders and 1,500 Pakistani traders who travel to China frequently. In Wuhan alone, the epicentre of the outbreak, there are at least 500 Pakistani students present, according to foreign office figures released on Saturday.
But in a video statement circulated to the Pakistani community and students in China, Pakistani ambassador Naghmana Alamgir Hashmi called for restraint in spreading false information on social media.
“No Pakistani in China has been affected by coronavirus so far. Please avoid sharing any unconfirmed reports or rumors on social media as this can create panic in the families back in Pakistan,” Hashmi said, and added that the Chinese government had announced it would automatically renew all visas that expired after Jan. 23 without any charges.
“The Pakistan mission is fully aware of the problems faced by Pakistanis in China due to coronavirus outbreak and trying its best to facilitate its nationals,” she said.
She also asked all Pakistanis to avoid going out in public, to wear face masks, practice improved hygiene and to avoid the consumption of meat, eggs and milk. 
The Pakistan Embassy also urged Pakistani students to remain vigilant while adopting good preventive measures in its latest advisory issued on Sunday.
“Pakistani community members and students in Wuhan are advised to cooperate with Chinese health authorities for curbing the spread of virus; understand the prevention and control measures taken and comply with official instructions,” the Pakistani mission in Beijing said.
The embassy also asked all Pakistanis to register with the mission to get timely updates and so they could be easily facilitated in case of an emergency evacuation.
But families back home in Pakistan have expressed grave concern for the well-being of their loved ones in China.
“We are worried about the health of our daughter who is studying at Xiamen University since 2018,” Rawalpindi-based Zahoor Ahmad, father of Maham Zahoor who is pursuing her Master’s degree in international relations, told Arab News on Saturday. “I talked to her this morning and advised her to remain indoors and avoid unnecessary movement, especially to markets and other public places.”
The coronavirus, which emerged in December, has now spread to other countries, but the majority of the 2,000 cases and all 56 deaths, have been reported in China.
Earlier this week, Chinese authorities shut down transportation from Wuhan, the capital of central China’s Hubei province, hoping to contain the spread of virus, and have since expanded the lockdown to other cities, covering a total population of about 35 million people.
The World Health Organization described the outbreak as an emergency for China, though it stopped short of declaring it a public health emergency of international concern just yet.
“We are facing problems as we have been asked to remain in our hostels. We are facing an acute shortage of food as shops and restaurants are closed due to the blockade of the city,” Muhammad Atiq, a PhD student of Public Administration at Huazhong University of Science and Technology in Wuhan, told Arab News by telephone from China.
Atiq added that his family in Pakistan were getting increasingly worried.
“The university promised to provide us with special masks, but we haven’t received them yet as air traffic, railways and even taxi services are closed in the city. We could not even offer Friday prayers since all sorts of gatherings have been banned in the city,” he said.
Mumtaz Begum, a school principal from southern Punjab whose daughter is a student at Peking University in Beijing, expressed serious concerns for the health of her daughter while speaking to Arab News.
“I want her to come back to Pakistan, but she has her exams in a couple of months. I have asked her to remain inside her apartment, wear a mask and avoid going to public places. We all are praying for her health as the virus is spreading to the whole of China,” she said.
On Saturday, at least two people suspected of contracting coronavirus were admitted to Nishtar hospital in Multan, southern Punjab. The government has so far denied reports of any confirmed case of the disease in Pakistan.


Zalmi crumble to limp defeat against Multan

Updated 26 February 2020

Zalmi crumble to limp defeat against Multan

  • Sammy’s utter cluelessness against spin made his team look exposed
  • The match was Zalmi’s second loss

KARACHI: The city of Multan hosted its first ever PSL match on Wednesday, and the home fans were treated to an absolute thrashing as the Sultans crushed Peshawar Zalmi by six wickets, with a quarter of their innings still to go.
A capacity crowd had reason to shout right from the start, as Peshawar’s opener Tom Banton was dropped off the very first ball — a tough chance at slip. But as Multan’s captain Shan Masood later noted, it was enough to signal their intent. Mohammad Irfan, the player bowling, had his revenge as the same player was dismissed in the same over thanks to a sharp catch by Shahid Afridi. That set the tone for the rest of the evening, as Zalmi kept losing wickets at regular intervals. Perhaps the most crucial of these losses was that of star opener Kamran Akmal. Zalmi have often lost their way at the start but have regularly had Akmal bail them out. His dismissal was the first notice that tonight was not going to be the Peshawar team’s night.
For a brief interval though, all those thoughts were put on hold as all of Pakistan swooned collectively over the batting of Haider Ali. The Zalmi youngster showed an impeccable touch, taking full advantage of a track that was far better to bat on than the score suggested. Not only did Haider have the ability to have the purists purring with the beauty of his shots, but he also possessed the ability to go big, effortlessly scoring boundaries when needed. In the commentary box, southern Punjab native Waqar Younis had barely concealed his bias for the Multan side, but even he was left raving as Haider’s batting carried the Zalmi innings. But just when it looked like he was going onto something huge, he holed out to Rile Rossouw in the deep.
His loss exposed Peshawar’s all-rounders, who had to bat much earlier than expected. It meant that Zalmi’s talismanic skipper Daren Sammy was forced to bat against the spin, and in a torturous display he went eleven balls without scoring a single run, or even really attempting to do so. But when the pacers returned, Sammy immediately got out and with that ended any hopes Zalmi had of posting a total that at least flirted with competitiveness. The 123 that they ended up with also came before the team had faced its full quota of 20 overs.
But such disappointment was banished at the start, as Peshawar Zalmi replicated the Sultans’ first over with the ball. James Vince was dropped at slip off the very first ball, but then holed out within the circle to be dismissed in the same Hasan Ali over. Moeen Ali followed him back to the hut soon after, hitting one straight to the fielder off Rahat. With the team sniffing the kill, Sammy brought in his third senior Pakistani pacer and leader of the pack Wahab Riaz, and he responded by getting rid off Shan Masood. Newcomer Zeeshan Ashraf showed sparkling touch in his brief innings, but a wonderful diving catch off Wahab’s bowling meant that he was the fourth wicket to go, and the match suddenly felt wide open.
Unfortunately for Peshawar, that was as good as it got. Rilee Rossouw shrugged off the disappointment of his PSL so far and looked in control as he got the runs flowing. The paucity of the target meant that he never really had to worry about the asking rate as much as he needed to stabilize the innings, which is exactly what he did. An edged hit to his body left him struggling briefly in the middle, but by then Khushdil Shah, the young batter had spent enough time to take control. He smashed down the remaining target to give the win the emphasis it needed.
Although this was their second loss, this might be the first one to actually worry Zalmi. Their batting looked lost when Akmal fell cheaply, with Shoaib Malik’s woes in the middle order continuing. Tom Banton, their much hyped opener, has also struggled to make his mark on the league while Sammy’s utter cluelessness against spin made his team look far more exposed than it had been so far. But they would know that their ceiling is much higher than those of their opponents, and tonight’s loss was a lot less about their overall strengths and a lot more about failing to apply them.