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Pakistan confident in 'iron-clad' friend

By YANG HAN in Hong Kong | China Daily | Updated: 2020-02-05 09:02

Zafar Mirza (center), Pakistan's health minister, addresses a joint news conference in Islamabad on Monday. SALAHUDDIN/REUTERS

Pakistan has called for normal people-to-people exchanges with China, expressing confidence in China's fight against the novel coronavirus outbreak.

During a press briefing in Islamabad on Monday, Pakistan's Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health, Zafar Mirza, said China has been taking practical prevention and control measures after the outbreak of the epidemic, which have been effective in controlling the spread of the novel coronavirus.

"The Pakistan government and its people are standing firmly with their Chinese brethren," said Mirza, noting China's efforts have gained wide praise from the international community.

"Pakistan firmly supports China's efforts in preventing and controlling the novel coronavirus infection and we are willing to provide all sorts of support to help China in dealing with the epidemic," said Mirza.

Pakistan resumed flights with China on Monday, according to the Reuters. Flights were previously suspended due to the coronavirus outbreak which was first reported in Wuhan, capital of Central China's Hubei province.

Mirza, together with Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Yao Jing, went to the Islamabad International Airport on Monday to welcome the first civil flight from China after the Spring Festival.

Mirza said there has not been a single confirmed case of coronavirus in Pakistan, and the country has no intention to hastily withdraw its citizens from the virus-hit city of Wuhan.

Also speaking at the press briefing, Yao thanked Pakistan for its trust and support. Meanwhile, donations of medical supplies from Pakistan have already arrived in Chinese destinations.

Noting there are nearly 1,000 Pakistani citizens in Wuhan, Yao said China will continue to safeguard the lives and health of Pakistanis in China and provide them with all necessary assistance.

"Since the outbreak of the epidemic, China has been acting with a high sense of responsibility and proactively enhancing international cooperation, providing immediate reports to the World Health Organization and sharing technical information," said Yao.

Yao said Chinese agencies abroad have also maintained communication with foreign governments, and updated them on the outbreak and China's efforts in a timely manner.

"Many countries and the WHO have positively commented, understood and supported the Chinese side's prevention and control measures," said Yao.

"China and Pakistan are 'ironclad' friends that share a good tradition of mutual assistance. At this time of difficulty, the support from the Pakistani side again showcases the two countries' deep-rooted friendship," said Yao.

During a telephone conversation on Jan 31 with Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said the South Asian country will soon deliver relief supplies to China by military aircraft, according to Xinhua.

"The Pakistani side appreciates how the Chinese side is taking care of Pakistani citizens in China," said Mirza. "We believe that China has the capability to guarantee the safety and health of foreign citizens in China."

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