Pakistan donated 7,000 surgical masks to its "all-weather friend" China, amid the global Coronavirus outbreak. Owing to its alliance with the neighbour, Pakistan reportedly donated its entire inventory of masks to China, the Chinese foreign ministry said on Thursday. Previously, Pakistan used to import masks from China, however, following the outbreak it became the exporters to the country. Pakistan on Tuesday reported its fifth case of Coronavirus in the country.
On March 5, the Chinese government had notified that 62 countries and 7 international organisations had donated face masks, protective suits, and other supplies to China. This comes even as a scarcity of masks was reported inside Pakistan, wherein people complained of shortage and masks being sold at surged prices. So far, the cases reported in Pakistan have a history of travel to Iran. Pakistan has not closed its borders with Iran and Afghanistan, however, its borders with China continues to remain open.
Islamabad was heavily condemned after it refused to airlift its students from China's Wuhan, instead, it sent its officials to the country. Pakistani students who were trapped in Wuhan had posted videos on social media pleading its government for help. Several countries, including India, have evacuated a majority of its citizens from Wuhan in special operations carried out by the governments.
Around 30,000 Pakistanis, including a large number of students, are based in China. Hundreds of them reside in Wuhan, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak that began late last year. External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, on February 7 told Rajya Sabha that New Delhi had offered all its neighbours - including Pakistan to fly out their students from the coronavirus-struck Wuhan province. He added that the only Maldives chose to take up India's offer as 7 Maldives nationals were transported along with the Indians in the province.
Pakistan has maintained that the 800 students in Wuhan and Quebec will not be evacuated for 'larger interests'. Many countries have banned arrivals from China while major airlines have suspended flights to the country. In late January, the World Health Organization declared a global health emergency in light of the epidemic.
(With PTI inputs)