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Pakistan

Web Desk
February 26, 2020

Pakistan-Iran border closure enters fourth day amid coronavirus scare

Pakistan

Web Desk
Wed, Feb 26, 2020
File photo

The Pakistan-Iran border remained closed for a fourth straight day on Wednesday amid the coronavirus outbreak scare in Iran, reported Geo News.

At least 15 people have reportedly died from the epidemic in the neighbouring country, more than any country outside China. At least 95 cases have been confirmed by the Iranian health ministry, with Iran’s deputy health minister, Iraj Harirchi, has tested positive for the virus after downplaying outbreak concerns just days prior.

According to sources, the Balochistan government has also stopped pilgrims from traveling to Iran via Taftan border.

A large number of pilgrims visit Iran from Pakistan via the Taftan border crossing on a daily basis. Authorities have sealed the border, introduced screening procedures and increased patrolling in a bid to ensure the infection does not spread to Balochistan.

In light of the provincial government’s orders, deputy commissioner Sherani has set up check posts in the district to stop visitors from entering the province from Islamabad and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Levies and police officers at the check post have been directed to send back those coming into the province from KP and Islamabad.

Train service between Quetta and Taftan suspended

Railways Minister Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed also announced the suspension of train service between Quetta and Pakistan’s Taftan amid fears of coronavirus outbreak.

In a video message posted on Twitter, Rasheed said the train service would remain suspended as long the border was closed. 

On the other hand, trade activities between Islamabad and Tehran continue to be suspended for a fourth straight day due to border closure.

The decision came after Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal Khan announced that an emergency had been imposed in the province due to the outbreak of the virus in Iran. However, flights to and from Iran have not been suspended, confirmed an official of the Civil Aviation Authority Pakistan (CAAP).

Measures at Pak-Afghan border

Separately, the Pakistani government has also started screening those coming in from Afghanistan via Torkham and Chaman border crossings.

DC Khyber Mahmood Aslam told Geo News that preparations are complete at the Torkham border. “More than 100,000 people have been screened since February 19.”

According to a health official, screening is underway at the border crossing and an isolation ward has also been set-up in Miranshan.

Moreover, emergency has been declared in Peshawar amid the coronavirus outbreak in the neighbouring countries. In a circular issued by the directorate KP health services, police officials' vacations have been cancelled.