Pakistan quarantines pilgrims returning from Iran


Islamabad, Feb 25 (IANS): Pakistan has started the quarantine of pilgrims returning from Iran where the deadly coronavirus has claimed 12 lives and infected 64 others, it was reported on Tuesday.

Pakistan, which has already sealed its border with Iran, quarantined at least 200 pilgrims near the Taftan border crossing in Balochistan on Monday, The Express Tribune report said.

"We have decided not to take any chance and keep all of them under observation for the next 15 days," Assistant Commissioner Najeebullah Qambrani said.

Provincial Health Secretary Mudassir Malik confirmed between 200 and 250 will remain under observation for the incubation period.

Around 7,000 pilgrims have returned to Pakistan from Iran this month alone, he added.

Pakistan has deployed 67 doctors at its border crossing with Iran to treat suspected patients of the deadly virus, The Express Tribune reported.

It has also declared a "coronavirus emergency" in five districts of the province -- Chagai, Washuk, Panjgur, Kech and Gwadar -- as a pre-emptive measure

Meanwhile, activities at the Pakistan-Iran border remain suspended for a second consecutive day on Monday as the Balochistan government has completely sealed the border at five points.

The provincial government has also announced it would not allow around 5,000 pilgrims currently in Iran to return following the outbreak of the infestation there.

Hundreds of trailers carrying goods were stranded, while screening of pilgrims continues at the Pakistan House established by the Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) and health department at Taftan border.

Many of Iran's neighbours have reported infections in people who had travelled to the Islamic republic.

Afghanistan on Monday reported its first case in a person who had been to the Iranian city of Qom.

Iraq, Oman, Kuwait and Bahrain also confirmed their first coronavirus cases, all of whom had come from Iran.

  

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