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13 Apr 2020 | 10:17 PM UTC

Pakistan: Border closures extended for two weeks on April 13 /update 17

Pakistan extends border closures for additional two weeks due to COVID-19 on April 13; confirm travel itineraries

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PAK

Event

Pakistan's Interior Ministry announced on Monday, April 13, that all borders, including the Western, Kartarpur, and Wagah borders, will remain closed for an additional two weeks to prevent the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the country. Separately, Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed stated that all train services will continue to be suspended until Friday, April 24.

Meanwhile, an international flight ban is in effect until Tuesday, April 21. Cargo and diplomatic flights and air carriers holding a special approval from the competent authority are exempted from the ban. Pakistan's Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has allowed private airlines to carry out domestic operations "subject to compliance with relevant Standard Operating Procedures." These airlines will reportedly operate between Islamabad, Karachi, and Lahore.
The army has been deployed to enforce lockdown measures after all provincial governments ordered a complete or partial lockdown to curb the spread of the virus. All restaurants and shopping malls remain closed across the country, while public transportation is suspended; however, Pakistani citizens and residents may reportedly leave their homes to buy groceries and medicine and to visit health facilities.

As of April 13, there have been 5496 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the country, including 93 associated fatalities. Further international spread of the virus is expected over the near term.

Context

The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.

Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.

Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.

Advice

Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.

To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:

  • Frequently clean hands by using alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
  • When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
  • If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.