Suspected coronavirus cases at LUMS have all tested negative

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CLAIM: A Whatsapp message went viral, claiming 25 students at the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) are suspected to have contracted the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) by sharing a flight with 15 confirmed COVID-19 patients.

FACT: No confirmed COVID-19 cases were present on the flight. All LUMS students on the flight in question  have tested negative for the virus.

From 26 February 2020 to 8 March 2020 a delegation of students from the Lahore University of Management Sciences travelled to Turkey via Doha to attend the Model United Nations Turkey (MUNTR) debate conference. 

According to forward messages circulated on Whatsapp, Facebook posts in private university forums, and various Tweets reproducing the Whatsapp message, the delegation is suspected to have contracted COVID-19 from 15 passengers infected by COVID-19 cases aboard their connecting flight to Doha, Qatar. 

The Vice Chancellor on 12 March 2020 sent out an email to the student body clarifying that all the students tested so far have tested negative and announced an extension of spring break to give the university more time to figure out its response to the virus.

Soch spoke to members of the delegation, including Uswah Fatima and Rahul Hasnain, who confirmed on 13 March 2020 that all 21 of them have been tested for COVID-19. Despite the negative results, the students are undergoing quarantine as a precautionary measure for another two weeks.

Pakistan confirmed its first two cases of COVID-19 on 27 February 2020 when the State Minister of Health Zafar Mirza tweeted out an official confirmation. Within 2 weeks, 20 cases of the virus have been confirmed in the country as of 12 March 2020.

The World Health Organisation prepares a daily situation report on the outbreak which covers the spread of the virus across the world and confirmed number of cases in every country, along with daily updates on the developments surrounding the global containment of the virus.

The posts also alleged that the students shared a flight with 15 confirmed COVID-19 patients. However, neither the Ministry of Health nor WHO have confirmed those cases.

Summary: 25 LUMS students who flew into Pakistan on 8 March 2020 have tested negative for COVID-19.

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