The federal government on Sunday announced the closure of Chaman border with Afghanistan for one-week amid the coronavirus outbreak in the neighbouring country.
The interior ministry in its notification said the border will remain close for one week starting Monday i.e. March 2.
The move comes after Kabul confirmed its first case of the coronavirus on Monday with several others being tested for the diseases. Ferozuddin Feroz, the minister of public health, told a press conference one of three suspected cases had been confirmed in the Western province of Herat.
In addition to the border closure, strict precautionary measures have also been put in place in border areas to stop the spread, including the establishment of an isolation ward at DHQ Hospital Parachinar.
Moreover, screening at the Babe-e-Dosti border crossing in Chaman is underway. Medical checkpoints have also been set up at Torkham border for those coming into the country from Afgahnistan’s Nangarhar province.
According to the provincial health department, more than 10,000 people have undergone screening in the last five days at the Chaman border.
Isolation wards have also been set up at Pak-Afghan Friendship Hospital, Landi Kotal and hospitals in Jamrud.
Measures at Pak-Iran border
Separately, Levies officials on Sunday said 510 pilgrims from Iran were under quarantine at the Pakistan House.
A day earlier, Balochistan’s health officials declared 252 pilgrims from Iran free from coronavirus after putting them under quarantine for 15 days.
According to Levies officials, the pilgrims were cleared after they were screened by the health officials.
Two more cases of coronavirus emerge in Pakistan
Meanwhile, two more cases of the novel coronavirus were confirmed by Special Assistant to PM on Health Dr Zafar Mirza on Saturday.
“We have received reports of two more positive cases of coronavirus, one has been reported in Sindh province, (the) other in federal areas,” Mirza told a press conference.
Earlier, the Sindh Health Department had confirmed that a patient who had returned from Iran, had been diagnosed with the infection in Karachi at 5pm.
The patient and those who came into contact with him have also been quarantined, confirmed the provincial health department.
Speaking about the two earlier cases of coronavirus in Pakistan, Dr Mirza said there was no need to panic as they were both getting better. “One of the patients will be discharged from the hospital quite soon,” he said.
Dr Mirza said that the infection spread to Pakistan after cases were first reported in 47 countries. He said that the disease had spread to Pakistan last as the government had taken necessary precautions.