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Pak COVID-19 cases rise as neighbour Iran's death toll up

March 16, 2020 05:38 PM

NEW DELHI/ISLAMABAD:Over 100 people have been infected with the coronavirus in Pakistan, with most of the cases located in Sindh province.
Over 16,000 Pakistanis were in Iran when the coronavirus began taking a toll there, according to Pakistani media reports. Till Monday, 853 people were dead and 14,991 infected in Iran, the third most affected country by the pandemic.

Pakistan suspended air travel from Iran on February 27, and it closed its border completely with Iran on Monday.

Pakistan reported on Monday 50 more confirmed cases of coronavirus, taking the toll to above 100. Senator Murtaza Wahab in a tweet revealed that 50 people who had arrived in Sukkur from Taftaan have tested positive. The total number of cases in Sindh have reached 76.

Of these new positive cases, 25 are from Karachi, one from Hyderabad and 50 are from Taftaan, Iran. Two people have recovered and 74 are under treatment, Wahab added.

Pakistan shares two major border crossings with Iran, one in Taftaan town which is over 600 kms from Quetta in Balochistan and Mand, a town in southern Balochistan.

On an average daily, thousands of Pakistanis travel through the border to Iran every day, including businessmen and pilgrims. Last year, around 120,000 Pakistani pilgrims visited Iran. Iranian cities such as Mashhad and Qom, are holy sites for Shia Muslims worldwide.

The Pakistan government has set up a 100-bed tent hospital at Taftaan on the Pakistan-Iran border in Balochistan province, where pilgrims were screened till Sunday before they were allowed to return to their homes, sources said.

However, sources in Islamabad said that the whereabouts of Pakistanis who returned from Iran in the last two weeks were unclear.

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