Pakistan acquires test kits from China for the diagnosis of coronavirus

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan said on Sunday it had acquired nearly 1,000 test kits from its all-weather ally, China, to increase the country's ability to diagnose the disease that has claimed more than 300 lives.

The special assistant to the prime minister of health, Zafar Mirza, went to Twitter to share the development following concerns that Pakistan lacked the ability to test the deadly virus.

We now have the ability to diagnose coronarivus in Pakistan. I want to applaud our team and leadership of the NIH (National Institute of Health) for their hard work to ensure the reagent for diagnosis, Mirza tweeted.

At least 1,000 test kits arrived from China, which increased Pakistan's efforts to combat the disease, health officials said, adding that no Pakistani citizen has contracted the virus.

Initially, the tests will be carried out only at the NIH in Islamabad but later the installation will be extended to other parts of the country.

Pakistan has more than 28,000 students in China, including 500 in the most affected city of.

Pakistan's ambassador to China, Naghmana Hashmi, said Sunday that Pakistani students should not be evacuated from Wuhan, since medical facilities in his country did not meet the standards required to treat a patient diagnosed with coronavirus.

Hashmi's comments came a day after Mirza said the government will not return its citizens despite multiple requests for immediate evacuation of students and their families.

Pakistan suspended all flights to China and also developed a system to control Chinese passengers and quarantine suspect patients.

Pakistan sent medical supplies to Wuhan on Sunday. Among the supplies were 0.3 million medical masks, 800 hazardous materials suits and 6,800 pairs of medical gloves, Radio Pakistan reported.

The coronavirus outbreak has killed 305 people and infected 14,562. The Philippines reported on Sunday the first death outside of China due to the epidemic that has spread to 25 countries, including India, the United States, the United Kingdom and Russia .

In China, all deaths have been reported in the central province of Hubei, the epicenter of the virus outbreak.

The virus was declared a global health emergency by the World Health Organization (WHO) on January 31.