Pakistan could have its first coronavirus case, although officials are downplaying the possibility. The suspected coronavirus case appeared in Sindh province in Pakistan via a video posted on social media by the patient’s brother.
The patient is Shahzaib Ali Rahuja, and he was studying petroleum engineering at a university located approximately 1,000 kilometers from Wuhan. That’s the city in which the coronavirus outbreak started. According to his brother, Irshad Ali, he returned to Pakistan from China via a connecting flight from Qatar over the weekend. He said his brother landed in Karachi on Saturday night after being unable to take a direct flight from China to Pakistan.
Authorities reportedly screened Rahuja at the airport in China before he left and again in Karachi when he arrived, but he wasn’t showing any symptoms during those checks. After he returned home, he developed a cough and fever. His family rushed him to the hospital after his nose began to bleed.
The video that was posted on social media was taken at a government hospital close to Khairpur in Pir Jo Goth. Rahuja’s brother claimed that doctors quarantined them in a ward and refused to treat him. After the video went viral on social media, he said health officials took his brother to the civil hospital in Khairpur. They then reportedly decided to send him to Karachi where he could be screened for coronavirus and treated for it. Officials reportedly said they didn’t have the necessary facilities to do that in Khairpur.
Sindh Health Minister Azra Fazal Pechuho told news outlets that Rahuja didn’t show any symptoms of the coronavirus and that it’s simply too early to diagnose his illness.
Pakistanis start arriving home from China
Rahuja is just one of several Pakistani nationals who had been stuck in China during the coronavirus outbreak. Many began landing back in Pakistan on Monday as the country again started accepting flights to and from China. As many as 30,000 Pakistani citizens live in China, and over 500 of them were believed to have been based in Wuhan. Many of those in Wuhan are university students.
The first flight to Pakistan from China landed on Monday in Islamabad. About 235 passengers were on the flight, including 11 Chinese citizens.
The first possible coronavirus case arrived in Pakistan just as the death toll surpassed 425 globally. The number of people infected with the illness around the globe is now more than 20,000.