Kabul: At a time when the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) on Monday reported 275 new positive cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) infection in the last 24 hours, the Afghan embassy in Islamabad announced that Pakistan’s National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) has temporarily suspended incoming pedestrian movement at overland border crossings with Afghanistan and Iran to curb spread of the new mutation of the coronavirus.
“The 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 terminals (BTS),” read the statement issued by the NCOC.
The revised policy, which will be effective from midnight May 4-5 till midnight May 19-20, will only be applicable to inbound pedestrians with no effect on the existing cargo/trade (bilateral/Afghan Transit Trade) movement.
According to the NCOC statement, border terminals will remain open for seven days a week. “Employment strength of LEAs/health staff at BTs will be increased for implementation of testing protocols and to control high traffic density,” read the statement.
The exception to this ban are Pakistani nationals in Afghanistan and Iran who desire to return to their country and in extreme medical emergency cases etc. It also said that all outbound pedestrian movement is permissible.
Highlighting the testing and quarantining protocols, the NCOC said inbound pedestrians will undergo rapid antigen test (RAT). Positive cases (for Pakistani nationals only) will be shifted to nearby quarantine facilities.
“Inbound pedestrian with Afghan exemptions will also undergo RAT testing at BTs. Positive cases, if any, will be reverted back to Afghanistan,” read the NCOC statement.
It also said that thermal scanning for all drivers and co-drivers will be carried out on arrival at the BTs.
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Symptomatic cases will undergo RAT testing, positive cases will be dealt with as per the described procedure.
Meanwhile, Afghanistan also reported six deaths and 170 recoveries from COVID-19 in the last 24 hours, as per the health ministry on Monday. The total number of cases now stand at 60,563, while the number of reported deaths is 2,648 and the total number of recoveries is 53,563. There are currently 4,354 active coronavirus cases nationwide.