Pakistan halts flights to and from China

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Islamabad, Jan 31 (IANS) Pakistan on Friday halted flights to and from China with immediate effect, as the death toll from the coronavirus outbreak in China rose to 213, prompting the WHO to declare it as a global health emergency.

“All direct flight operations between Pakistan and China are to be stalled on an immediate basis initially till February 2,” The Express Tribune quoted a notification issued by the Civil Aviation Authority as saying.

The decision, it added, was subject to “subsequent review”.

The development comes after flag carrier Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) on Thursday decided to suspend flights to Beijing until February 2.

Senior Joint Secretary of aviation Abdul Sattar Khokhar told Dawn news that PIA had been operating two flights between Pakistan and China but it had decided to suspend flight operations.

On Thursday, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Health Zafar Mirza announced that the government had decided not to repatriate Pakistani citizens stranded in China in accordance with the recommendations of the WHO.

A day earlier, Mirza had announced that up to four Pakistani students in China were diagnosed with the coronavirus.

A large proportion of the Pakistanis living in China were students of which over 500 students were based in the central city of Wuhan, the epicentre of the virus.

–IANS

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