ISLAMABAD: Stranded Afghan nationals will be able to return home after Pakistan announced to temporarily lift restrictions on borders with Afghanistan from Monday that were closed in view of the coronavirus crisis a couple of weeks ago.
Pakistan, starting from today, will open the Torkham and Chaman border crossings for four days to facilitate Afghan nationals stranded in the country due to the border closure, Dawn reported.
Pakistan's Foreign Office spokesperson said in a statement that the step was taken on a special request by the Afghan government based on humanitarian considerations and to facilitate the Afghan nationals.
The government has also decided that the Pakistanis who return from Afghanistan will be quarantined at facilities established near the Pakistan-Iran border in Chaman.
The Afghan government has also put Afghan citizens in a quarantine centre in the border town of Spin Boldak.
"We have a capacity to accommodate up to 900 people in quarantine at a time," Zakaullah Durani, a senior official of the Chaman administration, told the newspaper, adding that every tent had an attached washroom, food and other facilities.
The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Pakistan stood at more than 3,278 as of Monday, with at least 50 deaths.
In Afghanistan, the Ministry of Public Health reported 30 new coronavirus cases on Monday, raising the national tally of infection to 367 and the number of deaths to at least seven.