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Pakistan reopens Iran border amid Wuhan coronavirus fears

Christian Fernsby |
Pakistan yesterday reopened its border with neighboring Iran, allowing hundreds of its stranded citizens to return to the country, officials and local media reported.

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“We have reopened the border to allow our citizens to enter in batches,” Liaquat Shahwani, a spokesperson for the government of southwestern Balochistan province that borders Iran, told Anadolu Agency.

The first batch of more than 300 stranded citizens had been allowed to return to the country after the full screening, Shahwani said, adding that more batches would be allowed to enter in the coming days.

“Those, who have touched the virus-hit areas in Iran, are being quarantined until they are declared clear. Whereas others are being allowed to go but after full screening”, Shahwani said.

Footage aired on local broadcaster 92 News showed hundreds of stranded Pakistanis standing in the queues, and waiting to be screened for coronavirus at the border town of Taftan, located 630 kilometers (391 miles) from Quetta, the capital of Balochistan.

Thousands of Pakistanis, mostly Shia pilgrims visit Iran via the Taftan border every year. A 100-bed tent hospital has been set up at Taftan for the screening of pilgrims coming from Iran.

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