Tuesday Jul 06 2021
Web Desk

Pakistan closes Torkham border crossing with Afghanistan over virus fears

Web Desk
The Torkham border crossing is the main trade link between Pakistan and Afghanistan. -Reuters
The Torkham border crossing is the main trade link between Pakistan and Afghanistan. -Reuters

  • Torkham border closed to stem COVID-19 spread. 
  • Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed says border shut at NCOC's advice.
  • It is one of the most commonly used border crossings between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

ISLAMABAD: At the advice of the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC), Pakistan has decided to shut a key border crossing with Afghanistan to stem the spread of the virus. 

Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed Tuesday said all types of immigration departure and arrival will be closed from today at the Torkham border. 

The crossing will remain closed till the fresh Guidelines of NCOC, the minister said.

The two countries have multiple crossing points but Torkham in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the one in Chaman are used most commonly by travellers.

Afghanistan is seeing an increase in virus cases, prompting Pakistan to take necessary steps.

A day ago, the NCOC had issued fresh guidelines for Afghan students,  extending the mandatory quarantine period to 10 days.

COVID-19 cases saw 'definitive' uptick

Pakistan's reported below 1,000 cases in a day for the first time in six days, as the country reported 830 new cases Tuesday morning.

The daily case count has been over 1,000 since July 1, prompting authorities to issue warnings amid the lax attitude of people towards SOPs.

Another 25 people died of coronavirus in Pakistan in the last 24 hours, pushing the national death tally since the pandemic started to 22,452.

The latest data issued by the NCOC today shows that after 37,364 tests were conducted on July 5, 830 people tested positive for coronavirus.

Pakistan's positivity rate is currently 2.22%. A day earlier, Pakistan's positivity rate was nearly 3%.

The total active COVID-19 cases in Pakistan are currently 33,390.

Taking to Twitter on Monday, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health Dr Faisal Sultan said that since last week, there has been a "definitive uptick in cases, percentage positivity, and other parameters."

Dr Faisal appealed to the masses to continue following the government's mandated coronavirus SOPs, including wearing masks, avoiding crowds and getting vaccinated — all of which can help prevent the spike in cases.