China eases restrictions on movement, food supply in Hubei — Pakistani students

A staff member (R) of a supermarket wearing a face mask uses a thermometer to check a woman's temperature at the entrance to the shop in Beijing on March 12, 2020. (AFP)
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Updated 12 March 2020

China eases restrictions on movement, food supply in Hubei — Pakistani students

  • Delivery services have resumed in Wuhan, epicenter of deadly coronavirus, students say
  • More than 1,000 are stranded in the Hubei province ever since the outbreak in January

ISLAMABAD: Pakistani students stranded in China’s Hubei province said on Wednesday that local authorities had started easing restrictions on movement and food supply after coronavirus infections in the province registered a sharp decrease in recent days.
“The local government has announced that people in some areas will be allowed to use cabs within the province under certain conditions,” Muhammad Shahab Shah, a student of engineering at Huazhong University of Science and Technology (HUST) in Wuhan, told Arab News during a telephonic call on Wednesday.
He added that some delivery services had resumed their operations in the province, too, but it might take until the end of April for the lockdown to be completed lifted.
A total of 1,094 Pakistani students are stranded in the Hubei province, since the lockdown was enforced on January 23 to stem the spread of COVID19, according to the Foreign Office.
A majority are residing in Wuhan city – the epicenter of the deadly coronavirus outbreak.
As the number of coronavirus cases in China plummeted to 19 on Tuesday, down from several hundred in a day two weeks ago, President Xi Jinping visited Wuhan for the first time in the same day to express solidarity with medical workers, volunteers, and residents.
The Chinese president’s visit in the city of around 11 million people, which is still under strict quarantine, is viewed as an early sign that restriction on movement within Hubei province has started easing.
The new cases outside of China continue to rise quickly, with countries such as South Korea, Italy and Iran experiencing severe outbreaks.
The virus has infected more than 115,800 people in more than 100 countries and killed over 4,200, with a majority in mainland China. Pakistan has registered 20 confirmed cases of the virus since February 26, of which one has recovered.
Pakistani students have also lauded cooperation and facilities extended to them during the quarantine that included delivery of free meals, hand gloves, sanitizers and medical advice.
“We are thankful to the Chinese government for all their support in this critical time,” Muhammad Sadiq, a Pakistani student in Hubei province, told Arab News on Wednesday.
Some Pakistani students who are stuck in the province had earlier made impassioned appeals to the government for their evacuation, but are now satisfied with the efforts of the Chinese government to protect them against the deadly virus.
“We heaved a sigh of relief when we discovered that the number of deaths and new [coronavirus] cases were going down,” Tatheer Hussain, a student of medicine at Hubei University of Science and Technology, told Arab News. “But it is still too early to declare a victory [against the virus].”


Two more lawmakers with virus die in Pakistan as new cases spike

Updated 03 June 2020

Two more lawmakers with virus die in Pakistan as new cases spike

  • Critics accuse government of easing restrictions when stricter lockdown was needed 
  • Pakistan has recorded a total of 76,512 confirmed cases and 1,688 deaths since February

KARACHI:  Two Pakistani lawmakers have died after testing positive for the coronavirus amid a spike in COVID-19 cases and deaths.
Officials said Tuesday that Munir Khan Orakzai, a lawmaker in the lower house of parliament, died in northwest Pakistan. They said a minister in the southern Sindh province, Ghulam Murtaza Baloch, died at a hospital in the port city of Karachi.
Their deaths came weeks after the first virus-related death of a lawmaker in Pakistan took place in the eastern city of Lahore.
Pakistan on Tuesday reported 78 deaths in the past 24 hours from the country’s outbreak.
Critics blame Prime Minister Imran Khan for an increase in deaths and infections. They accuse him of easing restrictions last month at a time when there was a need to enforce a stricter lockdown to contain the spread of the virus.
Pakistan has recorded a total of 76,512 confirmed cases and 1,688 deaths since February.