The National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) on Sunday announced the closure of the country’s borders with Afghanistan and Iran with immediate effect to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The implementation of this policy will start between May 4 and May 5 at 1:00 am. The order will remain effective till May 19. The trade and cargoes have been exempted from this order.

Pakistani nationals will be allowed to return. Furthermore, people needing medical treatment in Pakistan will be allowed from both countries.

According to a statement, the restrictions were imposed to stop a new mutation from entering Pakistan and to ensure regulated inbound pedestrian movement and effective management of COVID-19 protocols at border terminals.

“Revised Land Border Management Policy will be effective from mid night 4/5 May (0001 PST) till midnight 19/20 May (0001 PST) and applicable only to inbound pedestrians with no effect on existing cargo/trade (Bilateral/Afghan Transit Trade) movement,” the statement said.

“Inbound pedestrian movement would cease with effect from midnight 4/5 May (0001 PST) with exception to Pakistani nationals in Afghanistan and Iran desirous to return and extreme medical emergency cases etc. All outbound pedestrian movement is permissible,” it further stated.

The NCOC also announced that Pakistani nationals would undergo testing and quarantine protocols.

“Inbound pedestrians will undergo rapid antigen test (RAT). Positive cases (Pakistani nationals only) will be shifted to nearby quarantine facilities. Inbound pedestrian with Afghan exemptions will also undergo RAT testing at the border terminals. Positive cases, if any, will be reverted back to Afghanistan. Thermal scanning of all drivers/co-drivers will be carried out on arrival at the border terminal. Symptomatic cases will undergo RAT testing, positive cases will be dealt with as per procedure spelled above,” the statement concluded.

The NCOC has also directed the authorities to increase the Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs) and medical personnel on both borders.

In the last 24 hours, 4,414 people tested positive for COVID-19 while 113 lost their lives, according to the latest statistics released by NCOC. Most casualties were seen in the province of Punjab followed by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP).

The story was filed by the News Desk.
The Desk can be reached at info@thecorrespondent.com.pk.

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