The Pakistan-Iran border crossing at Taftan on Friday remained close for the sixth consecutive day as immigration and crossings from both sides remained halted amid confirmation of two virus cases in the country, both of whom had travelled to Iran for pilgrimage.

According to the Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) Balochistan, an emergency has been declared in the provincial areas bordering Iran and screening process of 270 pilgrims who returned to Pakistan was undergoing at Pakistan House in Taftan.

The PDMA further said that the authorities have prepared the standard operating procedures (SOPs) to be followed for the pilgrims who will be returning from Iran.

“Currently there are hundreds of Pakistanis stranded at the Iran border and we have decided to bring them back in groups of 1000 people after screening process on a daily basis,” they said.

“Those returning will be provided with security and other travelling facilities and would be kept at the quarantine for one week to ascertain if they have any symptoms of the disease,” the PDMA said while divulging details of the SOP.

After the entire process, they would be shifted to Quetta immediately.

The PDMA has also announced to establish quarantine and isolation wards near the Taftan border crossing on an emergency basis to deal with the issue.

The provincial government has also already released an amount of Rs 200 to immediately set up isolation wards at the border crossing and sent 10 more doctors and health experts at the border area to deal with the situation.

“The authorities have already set up makeshift camps at the border crossing and provided them with food items, blankets, medicines, surgical masks and other necessary material,” they said.

Meanwhile, Iranian authorities have also offered to conduct screening, performing tests at suspected coronavirus patients and keeping them under scrutiny before allowing them to travel to Pakistan.