Coronavirus: Pakistan closes Chaman border crossing with Afghanistan

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By Muhammad Luqman
Pakistan has decided to close one of its two border crossings with Afghanistan from March 2, Monday for a week to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
The announcement comes  24 hours after Pakistan detected two new cases of the virus bringing the total number of infected patients to four.
“The Pak-Afghan border at Chaman would close from Monday for seven days “in order to prevent the spread of coronavirus on both sides of the border in the best interest of the people of the brotherly countries”, according to a notification issued by the Ministry of Interior on Sunday.
“During the period, necessary measures will be taken to safeguard the health of the people of both countries,” it stated, adding that the second crossing point at Torkham in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa would remain open.
Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Health, Dr Zafar Mirza, said that this was is a crucial step Paksitan had to take to safeguard the health of people of the two countries as the border crossing had a heavy traffic of travellers from both sides on a daily basis.
Mirza said the government, under the leadership of Prime Minister Imran Khan, had put measures in place and taken steps in the best interest of the people in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.
“The situation demands a coordinated national response and federal as well as provincial governments and all relevant agencies are working in unison to meet the challenge,” Mirza said, adding that the role of the communities and media was of utmost importance in sharing only accurate and authentic information so panic could be avoided and risk averted.

Dr. Zafar Mirza said that new and upgraded thermo scanners were now being installed at major airports around Pakistan.
“This will further improve the efficiency of our port of entries and first line of defense against #coronavirus,” he tweeted on Sunday.

The Sindh government has extended the closure of educational institutions until Mar 13 after the second case surfaced in Karachi. Earlier, it had shut schools from Feb 27 to Mar 2. Similarly, the Balochistan government also closed educational institutions in the province from Feb 26 to March 15.

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