Coronavirus outbreak: Pakistan-Iran remains closed for third day

F.P. Report

QUETTA: Pakistan’s border with Iran has been sealed for third day after coronavirus outbreak in the country, which claimed 12 lives till Monday.

The movement has been suspended at border areas of Taftan and Mashkel in Balochistan.

The health officials screening pilgrims returning from Iran at an emergency centre set up at Taftan border crossing.

Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) has made temporary arrangements for stay of the pilgrims stranded at the border.

The PDMA has arranged beds, blankets, masks and food for the people stranded at the border, the authority said in a statement.

“Presently around 270 pilgrims were present at the border crossing,” PDMA statement said.

“More 8000 pilgrims from Iran are expected to reach temporary camps set up at the border,” according to PDMA.

A spokesperson of the government of Balochistan has said that a medical emergency has been declared along the entire border area and an alert has been issued to the concerned authorities.

Balochistan home department earlier announced that the pilgrims would not be issued permits till further orders.

The government has issued orders for setting up special check posts at Quetta, Mastung, Naushki and Chagai to stop the pilgrims. The deputy commissioners, assistant commissioners and SPs were cautioned to halt the pilgrims to Iran.

Iran’s government on Monday said that 12 people had died nationwide from the coronavirus outbreak, rejecting claims of a much higher death toll by a lawmaker from the city of Qom that has been at the epicenter of the virus in the country.

The outbreak in Iran began in the city of Qom, an often-visited religious destination.

Moreover, the death toll from coronavirus raised to 2,663 in China as 71 more cases, the lowest daily number of fatalities in over two weeks, were reported on Tuesday.

The National Health Commission also reported 508 new confirmed cases, with all but nine in hard-hit Hubei province.

It is up from Monday’s 409 cases nationwide.

Multiple provinces in China have reported zero new cases for several days in a row now, with the World Health Organisation (WHO) saying Monday that the coronavirus epidemic has “peaked” in China.

Despite a downward trend in new case numbers, China continues to struggle to resume normal activity after the virus brought the world’s second-largest economy to a standstill.