[아시아엔=나시르 아이자즈 <아시아엔> 파키스탄 지부장] 이란에서 코로나바이러스가 발생해 무역활동과 순례자들의 방문이 중단된 가운데 파키스탄-이란 국경 폐쇄가 4일 연속으로 이어졌다.
발루치스탄 주정부는 또한 순례자들이 타프탄 국경을 통해 이란으로 가는 것을 막았다.
수많은 순례자들은 매일 타프탄 국경을 넘어 파키스탄에서 이란으로 넘어간다.
파키스탄 당국은 코로나바이러스 감염이 이란에서 발루치스탄으로 확산되지 않도록 하기 위해 국경을 봉쇄하고 검문 절차를 강화하고 있다. 또 국경 지역 순찰도 이전보다 훨씬 강화됐다. <요약 ·번역 송재걸 기자>
Coronavirus: Pakistan-Iran border remains closed on fourth day
By Nasir Aijaz
Islamabad: The closure of the Pakistan-Iran border continued for a fourth straight day on Wednesday amid the coronavirus outbreak in Iran suspending the trade activities and pilgrims’ visit.
The Balochistan’s provincial government has also stopped pilgrims from traveling to Iran via Taftan border.
A large number of pilgrims visit Iran from Pakistan via the Taftan border crossing on a daily basis. Authorities have sealed the border, introduced screening procedures and increased patrolling in a bid to ensure the infection does not spread to Balochistan.
In light of the provincial government’s orders, the administration has set up check posts in the district to stop visitors from entering the province from federal capital Islamabad and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. Levies, the paramilitary force and police officers at the check post have been directed to send back those coming into the province from KP and Islamabad.
Meanwhile, the Senate Standing Committee on Interior summoned an emergency session for Thursday to review the threat from coronavirus spread.
Pakistan’s Railways Minister Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed also announced the suspension of train service between Quetta and Pakistan’s Taftan area amid fears of coronavirus outbreak.
In a video message posted on Twitter, Rasheed said the train service would remain suspended as long the border was closed.
On the other hand, trade activities between Islamabad and Tehran continue to be suspended for a fourth consecutive day due to border closure.
The decision came after Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal Khan announced that an emergency had been imposed in the province due to the outbreak of the virus in Iran. However, flights to and from Iran have not been suspended, confirmed an official of the Civil Aviation Authority Pakistan (CAAP).
Separately, the Pakistani government has also started screening those coming in from Afghanistan via Torkham and Chaman border crossings.
District administration officials told media that at the Torkham border with Afghanistan, more than 100,000 people have been screened since February 19.
According to a health official, screening is underway at the border crossing and an isolation ward has also been set-up in Miranshan area.
Directorate General Health Services Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, in a letter, stated that an emergency has been imposed in the province due to ongoing coronavirus scare.
The letter was forwarded to all hospitals in provincial capital Peshawar, warning against strict action over dereliction of duty by officials.
The District Health Officer Peshawar said that thermal scanning of travelers is being carried out at checkpoints at Torkham border.
He said that the staff checks temperature of the people with thermal scanners and there has been an isolation ward made at a hospital near the border.