By: Monitoring Desk
Special Assistant to Prime Minister on National Security Division Moeed Yusuf said yesterday that the National Coordination Committee has decided to close eastern and western borders both for trade and passenger traffic for two more weeks. Addressing a press conference along with National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) Chairman Lieutenant General Muhammad Afzal and SAPM on Health Dr Zafar Mirza, he said the National Security Committee on March 14 had earlier decided to halt border traffic on borders for two weeks. “The closure duration of two weeks of the borders has come to an end and therefore NCC has decided to extend the restriction for another two weeks. Both passenger traffic and trade has been stopped at the borders with Afghanistan, Iran and India, which includes Kartarpur Corridor as well,” he added. The SAPM informed the media that all the ports are functional where screening is continued with beefed up arrangements. He said the international flights are banned till April 4 and there no flights can leave the country from Sunday. He said the Pakistani passengers stranded at different international airports have been brought back to Pakistan, while the remaining have received visas from the respective countries to further their stay. “Our last station in Thailand has also been cleared where Pakistani passengers had been stuck for the last many days. The issue has been resolved and a Thai airline is bringing back those passengers,” he added. The SAPM said the purpose of suspending the air space is to avoid major outbreak of coronavirus in the country. He said the suspension will be lifted gradually. He said in case any country wants to arrange special flights for its citizens stranded in Pakistan, they will be facilitated on case-to-case basis. He said the domestic flights are also suspended except the ones form Gilgit and Skardu. The number of testing labs will be beefed up from existing 14 to 24 after installation of new equipment received from China. “We will persistently increase the number of labs from 35 to 40 and ultimately 50 in the next 15-20 days,” he added. He said the NDMA has booked around 679 ventilators from Chinese companies, out of which 400 will reach Pakistan within three to four months. Moreover, around 150 ventilators will be received in the next week and have been sent as donation from different countries, he added. He said almost 45 tonnes of consignment will reach Pakistan on Tuesday as a special aircraft will take off for China on Monday night. He said the cargo will contain ventilators and walk-through gates which will be installed at airports.