Afghan, Iran borders for inbound pedestrians to be sealed from May 5: NCOC

Pakistani nationals, medical emergencies exempted; policy will remain in effect till May 19 midnight


Our Correspondent May 02, 2021
Pak-Afghan Border. PHOTO: AFP

ISLAMABAD:

The National Command and Operations Centre (NCOC) reviewed on Sunday the existing land border management policy with Afghanistan and Iran in a bid to curb the spread of Covid-19 variants.

The revised policy will only be applicable to inbound pedestrian movement, and is to come into effect from May 5.

"With the emergence of various variants and to restrain import of any new mutation to Pakistan, current policy of land border management with Afghanistan and Iran has been reviewed to ensure regulated inbound pedestrian movement and effective management of COVID protocols at Border Terminals (BTs)," the NCOC maintained.

Outlining the cardinals of the revised policy, the country's nerve centre for Covid-19 management stated that, "Inbound pedestrian movement would cease with effect from midnight 4/5 May (0001 PST) with exception to Pakistani nationals in Afghanistan and Iran desirous to return and extreme medical emergency cases etc.".

The NCOC further maintained that the policy will remain in effect till midnight 19/20 May and will be applicable only to inbound pedestrians with no effect on existing cargo/trade (bilateral/Afghan transit trade) movement.

Read Covid vaccine 'very effective' in protection against virus variants: Dr Faisal

Border terminals, it added, will remain open for seven days a week.

"Employment strength of LEAs/health staff at BTs will be increased for implementation of testing protocols and to control high traffic density," the statement maintained

According to the communique, all outbound pedestrian movement is permissible with the testing and quarantine protocols in place.

It further stated that inbound pedestrians will undergo Rapid Antigen Test (RAT). Any Pakistani national testing positive will be shifted to a nearby quarantine facility.

"Inbound pedestrian with Afghan exemptions will also undergo RAT testing at BTs. Positive cases, if any, will be reverted back to Afghanistan."

The communique said that thermal scanning for all drivers/co-drivers will be carried out on arrival at the BT. Symptomatic cases will undergo RAT testing, positive cases will be dealt as per procedure spelled above.

'Strict mobility control'

The NCOC further said that strict mobility control measures will be enforced in the country from May 8-16 to control the spread of the disease.

Quoting media reports in this regard, the authority added, "India ignored COVID-19 warnings and now  [is] struggling to contain the disease."

 

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