Coronavirus fears: Pakistan suspends direct flights to and from Iran

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27 Feb, 2020 6:11 pm

ISLAMABAD (92 News) – Pakistan on Thursday decided to suspend flights to and from Iran at midnight as fears across the region continued to grow over a jump in new coronavirus infections.

This decision will be implemented from ‘midnight between February 27 and 28 for an indefinite period.

According to a statement, the Aviation Division has decided to cease all direct flights between Pakistan and Iran with effect from midnight between February 27 and 28, 2020 till further notice.

It is pertinent to mention here that the road and rail movement between the two countries had already been suspended earlier in the week.

Earlier today, during his visit to Pakistan-Iran border at Taftan where he reviewed the safety measures, Special Assistant on Health Dr Zafar Mirza said the federal and provincial governments are collectively taking concrete steps to cope with coronavirus.

The special assistant said that strict screening is being carried out at all the airports and the ground routes. He said a helpline 1166 has also been established to effectively deal with the challenge.

Earlier, the Pakistan Railways has suspended the operation of trains between Quetta and Taftan as fears across the region continued to grow over a jump in new coronavirus infections.

Minister for Railways Sheikh Rasheed announced on Twitter Wednesday morning that the four trains that travel between Quetta and Pakistan’s Taftan have been suspended and called back.

The railways minister said the train service will remain suspended as long as the border is closed. “If you have booked your luggage or other things on the trains, you can take it back,” he said in the video.

It is pertinent to mention here that Taftan is a border city in Balochistan and is the last stop between Iran and Pakistan. Hundreds of people cross the border every day, including pilgrims.

At least 15 people have died due to the virus in Iran and 95, including the deputy health minister and a parliamentarian, have been infected.

Earlier, Pakistan has closed its land border with Iran, while Afghanistan suspended travel to the neighbouring country as fears across the region continued to grow over a jump in new coronavirus infections.

Both Afghanistan and Pakistan share long, porous borders with Iran. Millions of Afghan refugees currently live in the Islamic Republic – raising fears that the virus could easily spread over the border.

“To prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus and protect the public, Afghanistan suspends all passenger movement (air and ground) to and from Iran,” the office of the National Security Council of Afghanistan said in a statement posted on Twitter.

A provincial official in Pakistan and the country’s Frontier Corps also confirmed that the country had sealed the land border with Iran

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