Pak-Iran trade resumes after 13 days

ISLAMABAD: A day after the Sindh government announced the “complete recovery” of Pakistan’s first coronavirus patient in Karachi, the federal government on Saturday reopened the country’s border with Iran for trade activities, 14 days after it was closed down following an increase in cases of the novel coronavirus in the country.

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The government had shut the Taftan border on February 23, as part of its precautionary measures to contain the spread of the mysterious virus, which originated in a vet market of Hubei’s Wuhan city and has since then spread to more than 90 countries of the world, killing over 3,500 and infecting over 100,000, mostly in China thus far.

Iran has reported 21 new deaths from the novel coronavirus and 1,076 fresh cases in the past 24 hours, bringing the overall tolls to 145 dead and 5,823 infected.

The Islamic republic is battling one of the world’s deadliest outbreaks of the disease outside China, where it originated.

The Pakistani government had stopped pilgrims and traders from traveling to and from Iran. Hundreds of pilgrims were called back to Quetta from the Taftan border and special checkposts had been established to monitor their movement.

Authorities have now confirmed that trade activities have begun at the Pak-Iran border after a gap of 14 days. According to local administration, movement of goods laden trucks and trailers has also started following the restoration of trade activities.

Passengers arriving in the country through Taftan border are kept in quarantine at Pakistan House, where the number of travellers has crossed 3,000. Some visitors have been shifted to Town Hall due to space constraints.

On the other hand, the border with Afghanistan at Chaman has also been closed for the last six days following confirmation of fresh coronavirus cases in the westerly neighbours. The two-sided transportation, therefore, remained suspended at Bab-e-Dosti.

The Federal Investigation Authority (FIA) has said the Pak-Afghan border at Chaman is likely to reopen on Sunday. Travellers entering the country will however be screened for coronavirus accordingly.

PAKISTAN’S FIRST CORONAVIRUS PATIENT RECOVERS:

On Friday, the Sindh government announced that Pakistan’s first coronavirus patient, a young student from Karachi, who had contracted COVID-19 as a result of the infection, has recovered completely after being treated in a hospital in Karachi for 10 days.

Yahya Jafferi is believed to have contracted the virus during his visit to the Iranian holy city of Qum, where he had travelled to as part of a group of 28 pilgrims. He had tested positive for coronavirus on February 26 and was shifted to the isolation ward of a private hospital in Karachi. His family members were also placed in quarantine but were discharged after their tests came out negative.

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