Covid-19 Curbs on Passenger Movements Outlined

Covid-19 Curbs on Passenger Movements Outlined
Covid-19 Curbs on Passenger Movements Outlined

Afghanistan’s Islam Qala border crossing with Iran has been closed to travelers due to heightened concerns over the spread of Covid-19. 
Herat governor’s office, however, stressed that the transit of goods between the two countries remains normal.
“This precautionary measure has been taken by the Iranian government due to the rise in the number of coronavirus cases and deaths [in Iran],” the office said. 
Afghanistan’s Ministry of Public Health has put forward a proposal to President Ashraf Ghani on ways of preventing the spread of the coronavirus in the country, especially in educational institutions, Afghanistan’s Bakhtar News Agency reported.
The ministry said that a decision on measures to be taken will soon be shared with the media.
This comes after the acting health minister, Wahid Majrooh, said recently a meeting was held with provincial public health directors where a number of issues were discussed for curbing the spread of Covid-19, including on flights between India and Afghanistan; restrictions on border crossings at Pakistan and Iran ports; large gatherings and the activation of emergency committees. 
“These cases will be shared with the leadership of the government and [Afghanistan] Security Council so that the leadership of the government can make a decision on the issues,” Majrooh added.
The Afghan Ministry of Public Health on Wednesday reported 206 new cases of Covid-19 out of 1,877 samples tested in the last 24 hours. The ministry also reported seven deaths and 180 recoveries from Covid-19 in the same period.
According to the director general of Iran’s Road Maintenance and Transportation Organization, anyone who has recently stayed in India will be banned from entry into Iran until further notice on the order of the National Coronavirus Headquarters.
“Though Iran and India have no common borders, yet as per the order of National Coronavirus Headquarters, an immediate and complete ban on passenger commute via eastern borders has come into effect since April 25 to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic,” Javad Hedayati was also quoted as saying by the news portal of Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture.
Hossein Hosseini, a deputy with the aforementioned organization, also told Fars News Agency that the entry of travelers from Iran and Pakistan’s common borders of Rimdan and Mirjaveh has been suspended.
“Trucks can commute as usual, yet consignments have to be unloaded at the border crossings and loaded on Pakistani trucks, meaning freight transportation fleet cannot enter the neighboring country. Upon their return from the border checkpoints, Iranian truck drivers will be tested for coronavirus,” he added.  
Flights to and from India and Pakistan have also been banned as of April 25 due to the spread of the new mutations of the coronavirus in these countries, according to the spokesperson of the Civil Aviation Organization of Iran.
“All flights to these two countries will be banned until further notice,” Mohammad Hassan Zibakhsh was also quoted as saying by IRNA.
The official noted that with the addition of India and Pakistan, the number of countries with which flights have been suspended or restricted has reached 41. 
Apart from India and Pakistan, the countries involved include France, Albania, Andorra, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bahrain, Brazil, Botswana, the Czech Republic, Colombia, Ecuador, Egypt, Estonia, Hungary, Iraq, Ireland, Latvia, Lebanon, Lesotho, Jordan, Kosovo, Malta, Malawi, Moldova, Montenegro, Mozambique, North Macedonia, Palestine, Saint Lucia, Serbia, Slovenia, Slovakia, South Africa, Sweden, Seychelles, Syria, Tanzania, Zambia and the UAE.
As per regulations devised by the National Coronavirus Headquarters, before boarding the restricted flights, all passengers over the age of 8 en route to Iran are required to carry a RT-PCR test result issued by authorized laboratories and translated to English, showing they are Covid-free.
India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi has urged all citizens to take Covid-19 vaccines and exercise caution, saying a "storm" of infections has shaken the country.
Speaking on the details of flights ban and restrictions, Zibakhsh said all flights to and from India, Pakistan, France, Botswana, Brazil, the Czech Republic, Iraq, Estonia, Ireland, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Slovakia, South Africa and Zambia are prohibited.
Flights to and from 27 high-risk countries, including Albania, Andorra, Bahrain, Bolivia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Colombia, Egypt, Estonia, Ecuador, Hungary, Jordan, Kosovo, Latvia, Lebanon, Malta, Moldova, Montenegro, Northern Macedonia, Palestine, St. Lucia, Serbia, Seychelles, Slovenia, Sweden, Syria, Tanzania and the UAE, are operating under special conditions.
Passengers must complete the self-declaration form that they are free from Covid-19 at the airport of origin before collecting the flight card and submit it to the airline’s representative. They need to fill the passenger commitment form during the flight and deliver it at the destination airport to the representative of Health Ministry.
Moreover, RT-PCR test with a validity of 96 hours is required before flights to Iran for foreign and Iranian passengers, IRNA reported. 

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