‘Pre-emptive’ move to remain in force for seven days following first confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Pakistan
A senior health official on Sunday announced Islamabad was ‘pre-emptively’ closing land traffic along the Chaman border crossing between Pakistan and Afghanistan to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.
In a statement, Special Assistant on Health Dr. Zafar Mirza said the border crossing, often used by transporters and people with families on both sides of the Durand Line, would remain closed for seven days. He said this was part of the measures being taken by the government to contain the coronavirus epidemic.
According to Mirza, Pakistan’s Health Ministry and its provincial governments were on high alert to deal with the COVID-19, the novel coronavirus. International health regulations are being followed for travelers on all air and land routes to ensure the infected are properly quarantined and the disease does not spread to the general public, he added.
The special assistant said the situation regarding coronavirus was still developing and would require careful monitoring over the coming days. He said Pakistan was ready for the virus, as four major cities had been provided with the facilities needed to accurately diagnose the coronavirus.
In his statement, Mirza urges the media to play a responsible role in disseminating information to the public regarding the coronavirus. He also called on the masses to call the nationwide helpline 1166 in case they had any questions or concerns about the coronavirus.
Also on Sunday, the Sindh government announced that all educational institutions in the province would remain closed till March 13 as a precautionary measure following a confirmed case of coronavirus in Karachi. Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah, meanwhile, advised caution among the public, saying the government was taking effective measures to ensure the safety of all citizens.