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Coronavirus: 4 Chinese among 5 under observation in Pakistan


Islamabad, Jan 27: At least five persons, including four Chinese nationals, have been put under observation in Pakistan for suspected coronavirus infection, according to a media report.

The deadly novel virus, which causes pneumonia-like illness, has already killed 80 people and infected more than 2,700 others in China. Two samples from Multan have been sent to Hong Kong for confirmation as there are no laboratories in Pakistan equipped to diagnose the pathogen, The Express Tribune quoted the health ministry sources as saying.

Coronavirus: 4 Chinese among 5 under observation in Pakistan

One of the two patients in Multan is a Pakistani national, the report said.

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On Saturday, National Institutes of Health chief Major General Dr Aamer Ikram said a Chinese national has been admitted to a hospital in Multan and kept in the isolation ward after he showed symptoms of the disease including flu, cough and fever.

Test reports are expected to arrive in a couple of days, the report said. According to sources, the Chinese national travelled from China to Dubai and reached Karachi on January 21. After landing in Karachi, he took a flight to Multan.

Three Chinese nationals were also admitted to a hospital in Lahore and shifted to the isolation ward on Saturday. According to hospital sources, the suspected patients were residents of the Chinese city of Wuhan and had recently arrived in Lahore. Meanwhile, the Foreign Office has confirmed that all Pakistanis in Wuhan, and in other parts of China, are safe.

The coronavirus, officially known as 2019-nCoV, was first reported in Hubei province's capital city Wuhan and has spread throughout China and around the world including the US, Australia and South Korea. There are 41 incoming flights from China to Pakistan every week, mostly taking away and bringing the Chinese.

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Thousands of Chinese nationals who are working on projects in various cities in Pakistan as part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor regularly travel between the two countries, raising fears they could spread the disease. The coronavirus has caused alarm because of its similarity to SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome), which killed nearly 650 people across mainland China in 2002-2003.

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