PAKISTAN IS READY TO ASSIST CHINA DEAL WITH CORONAVIRUS: FM QURESHI

DEATH TOLL FROM DISEASE RISES TO 170, WITH 7,711 CONFIRMED CASES REPORTED

Pakistan is ready to extend any required assistance to China to help Beijing deal with the aftermath of the deadly coronavirus, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said on Wednesday.

In a statement issued to media, Qureshi praised China’s ongoing efforts to overcome the crisis caused by the virus originating from Wuhan city in Hubei province. “China has taken swift, strong and effective measures to contain the outbreak at a scale that is unprecedented in dealing with a challenge of this nature. The top Chinese leadership has been overseeing the disease control efforts,” he said, adding that the entire world had appreciated these efforts.

“Director-General World Health Organization, in his recent visit to China, has appreciated the seriousness with which China has handled the outbreak. Secretary General U.N. has also lauded China’s efforts in this regard,” he said, noting that Pakistanis living in China were also being taken care of.

“We are also extremely thankful to the Chinese government for extending best possible assistance to Pakistani nationals in China. We have no doubt that the brotherly Chinese people will overcome this challenge with their characteristic strength and resilience,” he added.

Thursday emerged as a particularly deadly day for the virus in China, with the overall death toll from the disease rising to 170, as the World Health Organization issued a warning to all governments to be “on alert”—though it has thus far stopped short of declaring a global health emergency.

Overall, 7,711 cases of the virus have been confirmed. Several countries have started to evacuate their citizens in China to avoid the spread of the disease, with American leading the charge. British Airways, meanwhile, has barred any flights to and from mainland China until the disease has been brought under control. France, New Zealand, Australia, Singapore and other countries are also pulling out their citizens or making plans to do so.

Originating in Wuhan, Hubei, the lockdown imposed by Beijing on the region has started to cause food shortages. China’s official Xinhua news agency has said that authorities are now working to check profiteering and the provision of all essential items. Adding to concerns is Beijing’s refusal to offer any estimates as to when it can contain the outbreak.

The coronavirus has now infected more people in China than were sickened there during the 2002-2003 SARS outbreak. To date, about 99 percent of the cases are in China.

Scientists say there are many questions about the new virus, including just how easily it spreads, how long its incubation period can last, and how severe it is.

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