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Coronavirus: Pakistan extends closure of border with Afghanistan for week

Coronavirus: Pakistan extends closure of border with Afghanistan for week
March 9, 2020
QUETTA (92 News) – Pakistan has extended closure of its border with Afghanistan at Chaman for a week due to the fear of coronavirus on Monday. According to the reports, Pakistan closed the Chaman border with Afghanistan for another week. The decision was taken in a tribal jirga and the return of the Aghan migrants will also remain suspended.
Pak-Iran border opened partially today
Meanwhile, the border with Iran – closed for last 16 days – is likely to open partially today. Meanwhile, Pakistani pilgrims coming from Iran via Taftan border crossing. Yesterday 137 people made their way into Pakistan from the Immigration Gate. Pakistan’s border authorities have said that all pilgrims making their way to Pakistan from Iran had been kept at isolated, quarantined areas at the Town Hall and Pakistan House, away from the general public. On March 2, Pakistan sealed Chaman border with Afghanistan for one week due to fear of the novel coronavirus outbreak. It is pertinent to mention here that the federal government took the decision after Kabul confirmed its first case of the coronavirus, while Pakistan has confirmed four cases so far but all of them had a travel history to Iran. The Pakistani authorities had initially decided to just screen people coming in to Pakistan via the Chaman border but later decided to completely seal the border. According to the reports, it has been sealed for an initial period of seven days and could be extended. The notification issued by the Frontier Corps Balochistan section officer said it was in the best interest of the people of the brotherly countries. The Pakistani Embassy in Kabul released a similar statement. Around 10,000 cross the border every day for trade, medical treatment, work or to meet relatives. It is noteworthy that Pakistan and Afghanistan share a 2,600-kilometre border and people cross it all the time. Security forces have been stationed at the illegal crossings as well. However, the Pak-Iran border in Taftan was sealed last week and still close after ninth day. Earlier, Pakistan opened the Taftan Border for its citizens trapped in Iran due to fears of spread of coronavirus after five days. After opening of the Immigration Gate, devotees, traders and other people entered Pakistan. The people returning from Iran were shifted to Pakistan House for screening. As many as 7,800 Pakistanis have returned from Iran from February 20 to till now. Of them, 2,100 belong to Quetta. According to the Health Department, over 700 devotees have undergone the screening process. Meanwhile, Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal presided over a meeting which decided to take emergency steps to conduct the medical examination and screening.