Pakistan denies evacuation; nationals trapped in Wuhan desperate to get home

Pakistan’s Health and Overseas Citizens Minister declined the prospect of an imminent evacuation; Pakistani citizens desperate to find a way home.

More than 1,000 Pakistani students in China’s Hubei province were told by their government that it had ruled out the very possibility of their return home. The province is believed to be the epicentre of the deadly nCoV, and Pakistani nationals are being told by the government that they should abandon all hope of being rescued.

Despite such demoralising statements from the State, many Pakistani citizens who were studying in Wuhan are desperate to find their way home, a feeling which only compounds every day as the fear of contracting the virulent strain persists.

Some have grown increasingly critical of their government's response, especially after seeing how neighbouring nations of India and Bangladesh managed to evacuate their citizens from Hubei province including citizens of other nations, such as the Maldives.

Life of most students and families has been confined to indoor environments, which has increased feelings of isolation, anxiety and depression. Worsening this destructive state of mind is the fear of catching the virus and uncertainty as to how long the conditions would last.

Whatever binary slivers of hope the students from Pakistan had of returning home was crushed after the video conference call between them and Pakistan’s Health and Overseas Citizens Minister, who declined the prospect of an imminent evacuation.

Reason for such negligence on Pakistan's part was justified by students who suggested that Pakistan did not have the necessary quarantine facilities. A statement was issued by the spokesperson for Zafar Mirza, saying that the Health Minister had expressed concern for the welfare of students in the call and that it was quarantine protocols in China that barred evacuation procedures, though the situation was being closely monitored.

“We are all completely disappointed with our government,” said a PhD student in Wuhan, adding that “after this call, we don’t have any hope from our government that they will evacuate students.”