Pakistan announced to close down Wagah border with India for two weeks on Thursday amid rising cases of coronavirus in the country. The count so far has reached 341 in Pakistan. The Interior Ministry through a notification said it closed the key border point with India "for an initial period of two weeks (14 days) with immediate effect". It said the measure was taken to "prevent the spread of COVID-19, in the best interest of both countries."
Pakistan's western border with Iran and Afghanistan had already been closed to curb the spread of the deadly virus which had infected people in more than 150 countries. Meanwhile, more coronavirus cases were reported in Pakistan as the number of patients in Balochistan province rose to 45 and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa 34. Another 211 patients were in worst-hit Sindh, 33 in Punjab, 15 in Gilgit-Baltistan, 2 in Islamabad and 1 in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. So far two people have died due to the novel coronavirus in Pakistan.
Pakistan was taking measures to stop the spread of the infection and lately religious affairs minister Noor ul Haq Qadri said that training programs for Haj pilgrims were suspended as part of the preventive measure. In Karachi, which is one of the worst-hit areas, Christian leaders suspended Church services.
The Foreign Office announced to hold an indirect press conference as a precautionary measure to control the spread of coronavirus. Foreign Office spokesperson Aisha Farooqui said that reporters can submit questions through email and answers will be published on the Ministry's website.
Novel coronavirus cases in India rose to 174 on Thursday, according to the Health Ministry. The cases include 25 foreign nationals - 17 from Italy, 3 from the Philippines, two from the UK, one each belonging to Canada, Indonesia and Singapore. The figure also includes three deaths reported from Delhi, Karnataka and Maharashtra so far.
Maharashtra has the highest number of cases - 49 cases, including three new cases, three foreigners, while Kerala has recorded 27 cases which include two foreign nationals. Delhi has, so far, reported 12 positive cases which include one foreigner, while Uttar Pradesh has recorded 17 cases, including one foreigner. Karnataka has 14 coronavirus patients. The number of cases in Ladakh rose to eight and Jammu and Kashmir four. Telangana has reported six cases which include two foreigners. In Haryana, there are 17 cases, which include 14 foreigners. Rajasthan has also reported seven cases including that of two foreigners. Tamil Nadu has two cases so far. Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Uttarakhand, West Bengal, Pondicherry, Chandigarh and Punjab have reported one case each.
(with PTI inputs)