Pakistan on Wednesday confirmed its first two cases of the novel coronavirus as the deadly infection reached the country despite hectic efforts to keep it away.

Taking to Twitter, Dr Zafar Mirza, the Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health said, “I can confirm the first two cases of coronavirus in Pakistan. Both cases are being taken care of according to clinical standard protocols & both of them are stable”.

He further said that there was “no need to panic” as the “things are under control.”

Mirza was currently at the country’s Taftan border crossing with Iran and would return to Islamabad on Thursday and address a press conference.

His tweet came moments after the Sindh health department said that a 22-year young man had tested positive for the coronavirus in Karachi.

Earlier in the day, 76 Indians and 36 foreigners were evacuated from COVID-19 epicentre Wuhan, China and were taken to an ITBP facility in the national capital for quarantine, according to the Ministry of External Affairs.

“The evacuees will go through a thermal screening procedure at the tarmac of the airport after which they will be kept at our facility in Chhawla area for quarantine,” a spokesperson of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) said.

More than 81,000 people have been infected with the virus, and 2,762 have died, with the vast majority of cases in mainland China and in particular Hubei province.

After China, South Korea has emerged s the biggest centre of the COVID -19 with total 1,261 cases. In Italy, the number of confirmed cases has risen to 374 and 12 people have lost their lives. In Iran, 16 people have died and almost 100 cases have emerged.

The deadly coronavirus toll in China increased to 2,744 with 78,497 confirmed cases, a Chinese health expert on Thursday said that the coronavirus outbreak would be “basically under control” in the country by the end of April.

“Yesterday, a joint team between the WHO and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control arrived in Rome to review the public health measures that have been put in place and provide technical support. A WHO team will travel to Iran this weekend to provide support.”

The novel Coronavirus outbreak has caused alarm as it has crossed global fatalities in the 2002-03 SARS epidemic.