Pakistan is closing its western and eastern borders with Iran, Afghanistan and India for two more weeks, Prime Minister Imran Khan’s special assistant on national security announced Saturday.
In its meeting on March 14, the National Security Committee had decided to close its western and eastern borders for two weeks and the period has expired today, PM Khan’s Special Assistant Moeed Yousuf said. “The National Coordination Committee (on coronavirus) has decided to close the borders for two more weeks.”
Yousuf, however, said Pakistan’s sea ports will remain functional and business activities will continue there.
He was addressing a press conference with PM Khan’s Special Assistant on Health Dr Zafar Mirza and NDMA Chairman Lt Gen Muhammad Afzal in Islamabad.
Pakistan had barred incoming international passengers from arriving in the country till April 4 on March 21. Yousuf said the government is now also suspending outgoing international flight operations.
The premier’s special assistant said the aim of suspending flights and closing borders is to increase the country’s coronavirus testing capacity.
The virus has killed 11 people in the country and the total number of known coronavirus cases in Pakistan stands at 1415, according to latest government data.
The government is setting up laboratories across the country to speed up screening of people. There are currently 14 government-run testing facilities in the country. NDMA Chairman Lt Gen Muhammad Afzal said that his department is working closely with provincial health departments to increase the number of laboratories in the country.
In the next 15 days, the total number of laboratories will reach 24, Lt Gen Afzal said. He added that they will gradually increase the number in the coming days.
The NDMA chairman said that at least 15 ventilators are arriving in Pakistan on Saturday from China’s Wuhan city.