Virus-free, but Qureshi takes extra precautions
March 20 2020 11:02 AM
Qureshi: tested negative for the coronavirus.


President Dr Arif Alvi, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Planning Minister Asad Umar, and other members of the delegation were declared free of coronavirus as they returned from a two-day visit to China.
However, Qureshi said he is going to self-quarantine.
A foreign ministry statement said that China had officially informed Pakistan that the delegation members were free of the infection.
“The delegation members were tested before flying to China and after flying to Pakistan. The reports are negative. All the delegation members are clear (of infection),” said a foreign ministry statement, citing information from the Chinese government.
Alvi and his delegation visited China from March 16-17.
Qureshi told journalists that he had isolated himself for five days after the China visit.
“China had almost defeated coronavirus. We are learning from them. I am isolating myself for five days as a precautionary measure. I will get another test done after five days,” he said.
Qureshi said that before flying to China he and others had swab tests done, which were negative. 
“When we reached China, a blood and swab test was done again, which also came negative and only after that we had our meetings. Before leaving, another blood test was conducted,” he said.
He said that after five days “I will get another swab test done and if that also comes back negative, I will go out and interact with people. This is what the experts have suggested and I intend to do so to set an example for others”.
The minister said that Pakistan and China had always stood by each other in difficult times.
He said the visit to China was aimed at expressing solidarity with the Chinese leadership and people regarding the outbreak of coronavirus.
The minister said Pakistan will have to maintain balance to deal with the coronavirus as complete lockdown will create many problems.
“China has dealt with the problem through a targeted approach,” he maintained.
Qureshi said China will provide Pakistan with testing kits, protective gear, and portable ventilators as the country tries to grapple with the coronavirus outbreak.
“China has decided it will provide us with a cash grant to set up a state-of-the-art isolation centre to combat the coronavirus outbreak in the country,” he said.
President Alvi’s first visit to Beijing was a singular expression of Pakistan’s solidarity with its “iron brother”.
The visit was undertaken at a time while China was engaged in a massive national struggle to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus, which causes the Covid-19 disease.
Meanwhile, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation Dr Sania Nishtar says that fully-equipped isolation wards have been established at 35 hospitals across the country to combat the coronavirus.
Speaking in a special programme in Islamabad yesterday, she said that the process of research is in progress to find a vaccine for the coronavirus.
However, basic medicines are being used for treatment of the disease at the moment.
She said that if anyone suspects symptoms – including dry cough, difficulty in breathing and fever – then he or she must contact the medical authorities.
The adviser stressed the need to maintain cleanliness and wash hands with different intervals to win the war against the coronavirus.
Nishtar said that there is no need to be panicked; rather, following the precautionary measures is essential to deal with the pandemic.

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