ISLAMABAD, Pakistan 

Pakistan has said that its border with Iran, which was closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, will remain open seven days a week for trade purposes.

Taftan border crossing “will remain open 7 days a week for trade only,” the Ministry of Interior said in a notification on Wednesday.

The authorities will ensure that proper standard operating procedures and health guidelines are followed, it added.

Pakistan shut the border on Feb. 24, suspended trade activities and barred its citizens from traveling to Iran, the epicenter of the outbreak in Middle East.

Bilateral trade activities resumed in May but thrice a week only. 

Pakistan and Iran share over 900km-long border. Thousands of Pakistanis, mostly Shia pilgrims, visit Iran via the Taftan border every year.

COVID-19 situation

Pakistan recorded a further 5,358 coronavirus cases during the past 24 hours, bringing the national tally to 160,118, according to the Health Ministry.

The South Asian country also reported 118 virus-linked deaths, taking the total to 3,093.

As many as 59,215 patients, meanwhile, have successfully recovered and discharged from hospitals across the nation of over 200 million people.

To control the surge in infections, the government has imposed a “smart lockdown” — restrictions in selected areas of 20 major cities considered to be virus hotspots. These include the capital Islamabad, commercial capital and most populous city Karachi, eastern city of Lahore, Peshawar and Quetta, among others.

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