Iran imposes travel restrictions on Pakistanis amid Indian variant fears

Immigration centre established on Pak-Iran border shut down by Iranian officials, says Chaghi DC


Our Correspondent April 28, 2021

QUETTA:

The Iranian authorities on Wednesday imposed a travel ban on Pakistanis owing to situation emerging across the world after the third wave of novel coronavirus and an explosion of new cases of Covid-19 in India.

The explosion in infections in India – 350,000 new cases were recorded there on Tuesday alone – has driven a surge in global cases to 147.7 million and the virus has now killed more than 3.1 million people worldwide.

The decision has been taken as a precautionary measure against the crippling disease, said Chaghi Deputy Commissioner Agha Sher Zaman, adding that transit trade between the two countries however will continue.

The Chaghi DC further said that an immigration centre established along the Pak-Iran border was also shut down by the Iranian officials for a week.

Read more: Iran halts flights with Pakistan, India amid spike in Covid-19 cases

The sources familiar with development relayed that Pakistani nationals present across the border can return to Pakistan and Iranians present inside Pakistan can go back to their country as travelling restrictions have only been imposed on new entries.

The Iranian officials have immediately closed their Immigration centre at the Pak-Iran border and all type of activities remained suspended on Wednesday.

The development comes days after Iran had halted flights with Pakistan and India amid spike in Covid-19 cases in both countries.

Iran's civil aviation organisation announced on local media that all flights to and from India and Pakistan have been halted.

Read more: Pakistan records highest single-day Covid-19 death toll since start of pandemic

Officials, however, did not say if any cases of the variant first identified in India in late March had been detected in Iran, the epicentre of the pandemic in the Middle East.

“The Indian coronavirus is a new threat we face,” President Hassan Rouhani said in remarks broadcast on state TV.

“The Indian virus is more dangerous than the English and Brazilian variants,” he added. “All the eastern provinces should make sure people infected with the virus do not cross the borders into the country,” Rouhani said. Iran's eastern provinces border with Pakistan and Afghanistan. Visitors can also travel Iran by way of the Gulf.

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