Monday Mar 02, 2020
Border closure between Pakistan and Afghanistan went into effect on Monday for a week, after authorities said they were taking all precautionary measures to safeguard the health of people on both sides of the border.
According to a notification issued, “The Pak-Afghan border of Chaman would remain closed from March 2 due to the coronavirus outbreak on both sides of the border in the best interest of the people of brotherly countries.”
The notification further said that during the period, necessary measures will be taken to safeguard the health of the people of both countries.
Security officials said all traffic coming and going via the Bab-e-Dosti corridor has been suspended with strict security measures in place at the border. “The border will remain close till March 9,” officials said.
“The decision comes after a joint meeting of the ministries of interior and trade,” customs officials said.
According to the health department, there has been no reported case of coronavirus at the Pak-Afghan Border.
Pakistan on Sunday had announced to close Chaman border for one-week amid the coronavirus outbreak in the neighbouring country.
The announcement came a day after Pakistan confirmed two new cases of the virus bringing the total number of infected patients to four.
Last week Kabul confirmed its first case of the coronavirus with several others being tested for the diseases. Ferozuddin Feroz, the minister of public health, told a press conference that 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 the border areas to stop the spread, including the establishment of an isolation ward at DHQ Hospital Parachinar.
World Health Organisation (WHO) has expressed confidence in the way the Pakistani government has handled the novel coronavirus outbreak in the country.
“I am impressed by the swift and diligent way, the government has handled the crisis so far,” WHO’s Pakistan representative Dr Palitha Mahipala said.
He added the health organisation was committed to supporting the country every step of the way.
Mahipala added that the COVID-19 outbreak was a public health emergency of international concern and all countries neighbouring Pakistan like Iran, Afghanistan, China and India had registered at least one confirmed case of the virus.
It is critically important that countries and international organisations worked for hand in hand to minimize the spread of the virus, he said.