KHYBER: Pakistan on Saturday made Covid-19 testing mandatory for all symptomatic Afghan nationals and its own citizens entering the country via Torkham border.

Officials said the new restrictions were imposed at the border point to prevent the coronavirus-infected persons from entering Pakistan and control its spread among the local population.

They said that apart from Torkham the new restriction would also apply to Chaman border in Balochistan and Kharlachi border in Kurram. They said that the federal government had through its embassy in Kabul also conveyed the message to Afghanistan, urging it to conduct rapid antigen testing of its citizens aspiring to visit Pakistan.

The officials said that the border authorities would ensure strict implementation of the new restrictions and no one would be allowed entry into Pakistan without properly being tested for Covid-19.

Health officials have deputed a team of doctors and paramedics at the border for rapid antigen testing of symptomatic patients.

District health officer Dr Tariq Hayat said the deputed staff had been imparted necessary training and were also equipped with the required kits.

Restriction meant to prevent spread of coronavirus

He said that test results would be provided to the affected person in about 20 minutes.

Officials said that scores of Afghans were refused entry into Pakistan after the new restrictions were put in place on Saturday. Sources said that around 10,000 people, both Afghan nationals and Pakistanis, travelled between the two countries daily.

FARMERS GET TRAINING: As many as 50 wheat farmers from Bara tehsil of Khyber whose livelihood was affected by militancy and displacement were imparted capacity-building training by the Community Resilience Activity (CRA), North.

The training programme focused on civic engagement, social cohesion, economic inclusion and resilience building in the merged districts.

During the training the agricultural experts trained them on the economic importance of wheat, introduction of seed and its variety, selection of seed and climate requirement for wheat seed crops, land preparation, soil testing, weed treatment, fertiliser application, etc. Agriculture extension, Khyber, also provided certified wheat seeds on subsidised rate to the 50 farmers.

Published in Dawn, December 20th, 2020

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