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Pak to allow stranded citizens to return from Iran

Saturday - February 29, 2020 8:42 am , Category : WORLD
Islamabad, Feb 29 (IANS) Pakistani authorities have decided to open the Taftan border entry point temporarily to facilitate return of around 340 Pakistanis stranded in the Iran, where the number of coronavirus cases and deaths have increased at an accelerated rate.
 
Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Health Zafar Mirza, who visited the Taftan border on Friday morning, said the government would gradually allow them to return in batches after complete health screening over the next few days, reports Dawn news.
 
The Pakistan-Iran border was closed to all kinds of movement on February 23. As of Friday, Iran reported 34 fatalities and 388 confirmed coronavirus cases.
 
Assistant Commissioner of Taftan Najeebullah Qambrani said that those returning from Iran including pilgrims, traders and labourers were screened on their arrival by health teams deputed at entry points of the border.
 
He made it clear that the pilgrims who had visited "coronavirus-hit Iranian cities" would be kept in quarantine while other people would be allowed to proceed towards their destinations after complete medical check-up.
 
"All Pakistanis returning to Taftan from Iran would have to spend at least a week or more in quarantine established in Taftan area," a senior official of health department said, adding that Pakistan House had already been converted into isolation ward.
 
"We have arrangements for treatment if symptoms of coronavirus are found in any returning Pakistani," the official said.
 
The assistant commissioner told Dawn news that following an order by high-ups the border between Pakistan and Iran was temporarily opened for unilateral immigration by the FIA in Chagai district.
 
Pakistan has two confirmed coronavirus cases but authorities said on Friday that they were "stable and improving".
 

--IANS ksk/