People coming from Afghanistan to be tested for Covid

Published August 17, 2021
This file photo shows people entering Pakistan via the Chaman border. — Photo by Matiullah Achakzai/File
This file photo shows people entering Pakistan via the Chaman border. — Photo by Matiullah Achakzai/File

ISLAMABAD: As there is a high level of uncertainty in Afghanistan after the Taliban takeover of Kabul and there is a chance of influx of a large number of Afghan migrants into Pakistan, the country’s health authorities have decided to make arrangements for testing every person entering Pakistan from the war-torn country for Covid-19 and sending those found infected with the virus to quarantine centres.

Moreover, the number of positive Covid-19 cases across the country has declined as a result of new restrictions announced by the federal and Sindh governments.

However, Ashura, which is falling on Thursday, is going to be a big challenge for the government because there is a danger of re-emergence of coronavirus due to the likely participation of people in a large number in mourning gatherings and processions to be held across the country.

An official of the Ministry of National Health Services (NHS), who is not authorised to speak to the media, said there was a strong chance that a large number of people, including Pakistanis and the nationals of other countries, would come from Afghanistan to Pakistan.

NCOC says 72 deaths, 3,669 cases were reported

He said the government had already decided that Pakistani nationals would be allowed to enter the country even if they did not have negative reports of Covid-19 PCR tests. However, the people of other countries would be tested for the virus and those found infected would be shifted to quarantine centres, he added.

The official said the federal and Sindh governments have announced the new restrictions keeping in mind close proximity of the people in mourning gatherings and processions.

However, he added, it would be a big challenge for the government departments concerned to make the people follow coronavirus-related SOPs.

He said the lockdown imposed by the Sindh government last week produced a positive result as the number of coronavirus cases in the province had decline.

He said the Provincial Task Force in Sindh had also decided that unvaccinated people would not be able to get their salaries after Aug 31 and that police could check vaccination certificates on roads.

Later, the federal government had also imposed some restrictions, including closure of businesses for two days in a week.

Data of the National Command and Operation Centre showed that 72 deaths and 3,669 new Covid-19 cases were reported on Monday across the country, with positivity rate standing at 6.8 per cent. The total number of active cases of coronavirus was 88,588 as of Aug 16.

Published in Dawn, August 17th, 2021

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