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].”


Pakistan vows to raise with EU issue of civilian deaths in Kashmir 

Updated 16 min 11 sec ago

Pakistan vows to raise with EU issue of civilian deaths in Kashmir 

  • Outrage follows a viral photo of a toddler sitting on grandfather’s corpse in Sopore, Indian-administered Kashmir
  • Qureshi called the killing of the man ‘cold-blooded murder’ by Indian security forces 

ISLAMABAD: Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Wednesday evening said he would raise with the European Union the issue of civilian deaths in Indian-administered Kashmir, after the heart-wrenching image of a young boy sitting on top of the blood-soaked body of his grandfather in Sopore has been widely shared by media.
The man was killed during an encounter between security forces and militants, Indian authorities said. Identified as 51-year-old Bashir Ahmed Khan, he was traveling with his 3-year-old grandson from Srinagar to Handwara town, when the two were caught in the crossfire.
Qureshi called the incident “cold-blooded murder” and the latest in a growing list of “extrajudicial killings in the valley.”
He said in a statement he had informed the European Union about the situation in Kashmir and requested that immediate notice be taken, as he reiterated Pakistan’s resolve to raise its voice on atrocities in the valley at every forum.
Last month, Pakistan condemned “extra-judicial killings” of Kashmiris in fake encounters and cordon-and-search operations.
“It is the responsibility of the world community to urgently act and protect the Kashmiris from the wanton killings and other brutalities being inflicted on them by the Indian occupation forces. Pakistan will continue to call for holding India accountable for its crimes against the Kashmiri people,” the Foreign Office said in a statement on June 9.