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Pakistan closes Iran border over coronavirus

Pakistan on Sunday (February 23) closed its Taftan border with Iran, stopping the movement of people as reports of the outbreak of coronavirus in Iran spread.

The decision came a day after the Chief Minister of Pakistan’s Balochistan province, which borders Iran, announced that a state of emergency had been imposed in the province due to the outbreak of the virus in Iran.

A large number of pilgrims visit Iran from Pakistan via the Taftan border, crossing on a daily basis. Authorities say they have sealed the border, introduced screening procedures and increased patrolling in a bid to ensure the infection does not spread to the area.

However, an official of the Civil Aviation Authority Pakistan (CAAP) told reporters flights to and from Iran have not been suspended. He said that health ministry staff had been posted at the airports and passengers will only be allowed to enter after being determined healthy.

A high-level meeting on the coronavirus situation in Iran, chaired by the Provincial Chief Secretary, Fazeel Asghar, was held in Quetta to discuss the situation.

Following the meeting, reporters were told that doctors were monitoring the situation at the border and isolation wards and medicine was being organized. They said they had asked the Iranian government to give clearance certificates for anyone traveling to Pakistan.

(Production: Khair Mohammad, Sheree Sardar, Salahuddin, Marissa Davison)

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