From his dormitory in the locked-down Chinese city of Wuhan, PhD student Hassan spoke to his father in Pakistan for the last time on Thursday (Feb 6), as the 80-year-old begged him to come home. The next day, Hassan’s father died of a heart ailment.

Hassan is one of more than 1,000 Pakistani students in China’s Hubei province, thought to be the epicentre of the coronavirus, who have been told by their government that it has had to rule out their return home for the moment. Hassan has since stepped up his efforts to travel home as his desperation grows, having missed his father’s funeral, but received conflicting information from Pakistani officials.

Will Pakistan evacuate students stuck in Wuhan?

Many other countries, including neighbouring India and Bangladesh, evacuated their citizens from Hubei province as the virus death toll rises, having crossed 1000 now. The Pakistani students and their families, including young children, are stuck inside most of the day. Four students told Reuters depression and anxiety was growing, their feelings worsened by fears of catching the virus and uncertainty as to how long the conditions would last. However, the government has taken no measures to ensure the safe return of these students to Pakistan.


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