Over 300 pilgrims arrive in Taftan from Iran, others would be allowed to return gradually
Over 300 pilgrims, among them women, have reached Taftan after being permitted to enter from the Pakistan-Iran border, the spokesperson for the Balochistan government said on Friday.
Liaquat Shahwani said that all those who are arriving in Pakistan from Iran will be quarantined for 10 days, saying that they will be allowed to leave only after the fulfillment of the term.
The Pakistani pilgrims were forced to leave the Iranian territory due to which they were stranded in the area between the Pakistan-Iran border, confirmed the spokesperson.
Shahwani said that all pilgrims coming from Iran to Pakistan will be screened for the coronavirus.
Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Health Dr Zafar Mirza said on Friday that the government now has a plan to deal with the situation of pilgrims coming to Pakistan from Iran, which has been hit with the coronavirus epidemic.
Dr Mirza said he has reviewed the situation at the Taftan-Zahedan border. During his visit, the health adviser said that the over next few days the authorities will gradually allow Pakistani ‘zaireens’ or pilgrims returning from Iran to enter the country, after full health screening.
He further said that the point of entry is being strengthened. Pakistan on Sunday had sealed its border with Iran and declared emergency in border districts. On Wednesday, Pakistan recorded its first two cases of coronavirus, with one each being in Karachi and Islamabad. The patients had returned recently from Iran.
Earlier, Dr Mirza said that the two patients were stable and their condition was improving. “Contacts traced until now and tested are all negative,” he added. Separately, the Sindh health department cleared the family of Pakistan’s first confirmed coronavirus patient after screening.
The 22-year-old had arrived in Karachi on February 20, indicating that there were chances that the thermal screening machines at the airports for those entering the country may not have worked after all.
The machines are supposed to immediately detect higher-than-usual body temperature.
Meanwhile, the Sindh government decided on Friday to quarantine suspected and diagnosed cases of coronavirus in a health facility in Gadap Town as part of efforts to control the spread of the virus in the port city.
Secretary Health Zahid Ali Abbasi and director health visited the 50-bed hospital – on the fringes of Karachi – and inspected the measures taken to isolate diagnosed and suspected cases.
Patients will be shifted to the Gadap medical facility from Monday and an intensive care unit has also been established in the hospital under the supervision of the metropolis’ health director.