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Friday 31 January 2020

Pakistan Not to Evacuate Citizens from Wuhan

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ISLAMABAD (Reuters) — Pakistani students stuck in the Chinese city of Wuhan, the epicentre of a coronavurus outbreak, are launching social media campaigns, making phone calls and writing letters urging their governments to get them out as soon as possible.

China has become a major destination for South Asian university students in recent years, fuelled in part by scholarships offered as China expands its influence in the region through Belt and Road infrastructure programme.

Pakistan said that quarantine regulations prevented it from flying out the more than 500 Pakistani students and their families from Wuhan. Bangladesh and India said they were putting aircraft on standby.

Muhammad Rauf, 30, a Pakistani master’s student, told Reuters he and around 40 others were locked in their Wuhan dormitory for all but four hours a day. However, Pakistani Health Minister Zafar Mirza said he understood students were anxious, there were no current plan to evacuate them — but the embassy was providing support. “We are following Chinese regulations according to which the whole place is under quarantine. As they open it, we will decide accordingly”, he told Reuters by phone.

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