ISLAMABAD — A special Pakistani plane has airlifted 274 students from China.
That comes months after they were stranded in Wuhan because of the spread of coronavirus. The students arrived at the Islamabad airport Monday night, according to Tuesday’s foreign ministry statement.
It didn’t say how many Pakistani students were still present in China.
Pakistan is a longtime friend of China. Despite domestic pressure, Pakistan earlier this year had refused to evacuate an estimated 30,000 of its nationals, including students, to express solidarity with Beijing. Officials say seven Pakistani students were tested positive in Wuhan following the outbreak of virus and all of them recovered.
The move to start bringing back students came a week after Islamabad eased a six-week long lockdown amid increasing infections. It has drawn criticism from some experts who say it could cause more coronavirus-related deaths.
Pakistan has reported 43,966 confirmed cases and 939 coronavirus-related deaths since February. Authorities say the increase of infections and deaths was mainly because people failed to adhere to social distancing guidelines.