NCOC says measures being implemented to prevent the import of any new mutations of coronavirus
The National Command and Operation Center (NCOC) on Sunday announced that it was enhancing Pakistan’s current land border management with both Afghanistan and Iran in a bid to regulate inbound pedestrian movement and effectively manage COVID-19 protocols at border terminals.
“With the emergence of various variants-of-concern/variants-of-interest, and to restrain import of any new mutation to Pakistan, current policy of land border management with Afghanistan and Iran has been reviewed,” read the press release issued by the body governing Pakistan’s coronavirus response. It said that new policy would come into effect on midnight, May 4/5, and would remain in place until midnight, May 19/20. The new guidelines would be applicable only to inbound pedestrians with no effect no existing cargo/trade movement, it added.
From midnight, May 4/5, read the press release, all inbound pedestrian movement would cease with the exception of Pakistani nationals living in Afghanistan and Iran who wish to return, and extreme medical emergencies. It clarified, however, that there was no restriction on outbound pedestrian movement, which would continue as normal.
Under the revised guidelines, border terminals would remain open throughout the week. They envisage boosting the deployment of law enforcement agencies/health staff at border terminals to implement testing protocols and control the traffic density.
According to the NCOC, all inbound pedestrians would undergo rapid antigen testing, with positive cases shifted to nearby quarantine facilities. Similarly, all drivers would be tested for fever, with symptomatic cases being administered rapid antigen tests; any positive cases would either be sent to quarantine or directed to return to their homeland in case of foreigners.
Pakistan last week announced a “Stay Home, Stay Safe” campaign for May 8-16, including the Eidul Fitr break of May 10-15. Authorities have said this is a necessary measure to curb the spread of the coronavirus, warning that if the public does not adhere to SOPs, the government would have no choice but to impose a complete lockdown in areas with high incident of the pandemic.