10,000 personnel Pakisan Police CPEC force at the risk of deadly Coronavirus
ISLAMABAD - Pakistani security officials are reportedly concerned that over 10,000 police personnel delegated to protect Chinese engineers working on Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) infrastructure projects could be at risk of contracting the Wuhan coronavirus.
“As the Chinese move in and out on a daily basis in Pakistan, it may also spread in our country and our constabulary,” Special Protection Unit Director Umer Sheikh said in a letter to Inspector General of Punjab Police Shoaib Dastgir, as reported link by Pakistan’s *Dawn* on Tuesday.
Sheikh asked for Dastgir’s help in submitting a request to Pakistani health agencies for medical advice and protective equipment.
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The World Health Organization (WHO) has reportedly provided about a hundred test kits to Punjab health services to screen for coronavirus infections. Punjab officials have designated four teaching hospitals to serve as coronavirus treatment centers if needed.
According to Dawn, there has been one suspected Wuhan virus case among the four thousand Chinese engineers sent to Pakistan. The individual in question has been quarantined pending test results, and efforts are being made to check other people he came in contact with.
Pakistani hospitals and clinics were put on alert link for Wuhan infections last week, as soon as Chinese officials belatedly admitted the virus can be spread by human contact. Pakistan’s airports began screening inbound passengers for symptoms of the coronavirus at that time.
Chinese workers traveling back and forth to Pakistan to work on Belt and Road projects were cited as a matter of particular concern, but the number of Chinese living full-time in Pakistan has increased enormously over the past five years due to BRI, and many of them would likely have relatives living in Wuhan or the surrounding Hubei province. Pakistani citizens working for Chinese businesses expressed concerns about managers and co-workers traveling home to China for visits and potentially suffering exposure to the virus.
Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi gave assurances link on Tuesday that Pakistanis are safe from the Wuhan virus, including those living in China. A group of some 500 Pakistani students living in Wuhan has appealed link to their government for evacuation, pointing to efforts by other countries like France, Germany, and the United States to evacuate their people from the city, which was recently placed under lockdown to contain the epidemic.
“There is a shortage of essentials and if this situation persists, we will run out of food very soon,” one of the students said in a video message.
“We plead that the authorities take notice of our situation on a humanitarian basis and do something about it. We will be grateful to you all our lives,” said another.