ISLAMABAD: The government has decided to seal the borders with Iran and Afghanistan for inbound pedestrians from Wednes-day (May 5) till May 20.
The decision in this regard was taken as per the directive of National Command and Operations Centre (NCOC) in a bid to curb the spread of COVID-19 variants, the Ministry of Interior said in a notification.
The ministry said the border management policy had been revised formulated with a view to ensure regulated inbound pedestrian movement and effective management of COVID protocols at border terminals (BTs) along Pak- Afghan and Pak-Iran borders.
“With the emergence of various variants and to restrain import of any new mutation to Pakistan, current policy of land border management with Afghanistan and Iran has been reviewed to ensure regulated inbound pedestrian movement and effective management of COVID protocols at Border Termin-als (BTs),” it maintained.
The revised border management policy, which be would implemented from May 5-20, would be applicable only to inbound pedestrians with no effect on existing crago/trade (Bilateral/Afghan Transit Trade) movement.
The border terminals would remain open seven days a week while employment strength of law enforcement agencies/health staff at the BTs would be increased for implementation of testing protocols and to control high traffic density.
The review of land border management policy would be carried out at the NCOC on May 18.
The ministry said,”Inbound pedestrian movement would cease with effect from 1800 hours on May 5, 2021 with exception to the following:
(a) Pakistan nationals in Afghanistan and Iran desirous to return;
(b) Extreme medical emergency cases and funerals of Afghan nationals (permission will be sought as procedure in vogue).”
However, all outbound pedestrian movement was permissible, it added.
The ministry said inbound pedestrians would undergo rapid antigen test (RAT). Positive cases (Pakistani nationals only) would be shifted to nearby quarantine facilities. Inbound pedestrian with Afghan exemptions would also undergo RAT testing at the border terminals, and positive cases, if any, would 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 ministry added.