PESHAWAR: The Government of Pakistan has declared coronavirus test mandatory for the citizens of Pakistan and Afghanistan crossing the Torkham and Chaman borders owing to increasing number of corona cases at an alarming rate during the second wave.

TNN correspondent reported that a formal notification in this regard has been issued by the district administration of Khyber tribal district. According to the notification, coronavirus test is mandatory for Pakistani or Afghan citizens who intend to cross the border. It said the decision has been taken owing to increasing number of corona cases. The border officials will make sure that the equipment for coronavirus test is available at the border for those intending to cross the border.

The notification said all the citizens crossing the border will have to undergo corona test. Only children below the age of 12 years are exempted from the tests.

After issuance of official notification, no passenger is being allowed to cross the border without corona test results. The sources said many people who went to the border for going to Afghanistan were returned from there as they did not possess corona test results.

Pakistan closed all the border crossings with Afghanistan in March 2020 due to the fears of spread of coronavirus. The borders were gradually reopened after four-month closure after successful talks between the two governments. However, some standard operating procedures (SOPs) were introduced and restrictions were made on the borders to keep out the virus threat. One of the restriction pertained to the condition of change of drivers at Torkham border. Under that arrangement the driver driving the vehicle used to disembark from the vehicle on the border crossing and the remaining journey was carried out by another driver. No driver was allowed to enter the other country. That condition was lifted later on. As soon as the threat of coronavirus reduced and visible improvement was seen in Pakistan, the government ended this condition.

Earlier, a statement from Pakistan’s Embassy in Kabul said the condition of corona test has been imposed in view of the second wave of coronavirus pandemic and increase in the number of positive cases.