Pakistan on Sunday banned inbound pedestrian movement from neighboring Iran and Afghanistan in an attempt to contain the spread of coronavirus.
The decision that will be effective from May 4-20 was taken at a meeting of the National Command and Operation Center, a government agency that deals with the country's anti-virus strategy, in the capital Islamabad with Planning Minister Asad Umar in the chair.
Pakistani nationals and people with extreme emergency medical cases, however, will be allowed to enter the country from both states. All outbound pedestrian movement will be permissible.
Border terminals between the three countries will also remain open throughout the week for trade and cargo purposes.
"With the emergence of various variants and to restrain import of any new mutation to Pakistan, the current policy of Land Border Management with Afghanistan and Iran has been reviewed to ensure regulated inbound pedestrian movement and effective management of COVID protocols at border terminals," the press release said.
Pakistan has recently detected British, Brazilian, and South African variants of COVID-19, fearing a further rise in the already mounting infections.
It has also banned land and air travel from India, where record infections and deaths have overwhelmed the health care system.
The government has also decided to increase the strength of health and security officials at border terminals with Iran and Afghanistan for implementation of the testing protocols, and control high traffic density.
Inbound pedestrians will undergo a rapid antigen test, and Pakistani nationals who test positive will be shifted to nearby quarantine facilities.
Inbound Afghan pedestrians with exemptions who test positive will be reverted to the home country.
Thermal scanning for all drivers and co-drivers will be carried out on arrival at border terminals. Symptomatic cases will undergo testing, and positive cases will be dealt as per the said procedure.
Pakistan has registered 829,933 virus cases, including 18,070 deaths.