KARACHI, Pakistan 

Pakistan on Tuesday closed a key border crossing with neighboring Afghanistan in an attempt to contain coronavirus spread.

Northwestern Torkham border, one of the two key crossings with the war-raked Afghanistan will remain closed for cross-border movement for an indefinite period, Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed said in a Twitter post.

The border, he said, has been closed on the recommendation of the country’s anti-virus task force, National Command and Operations Center (NCOC), following a rise in infections in Afghanistan.

“On the advice of the NCOC all types of immigration departure and arrival will be closed from today (Tuesday) at the Torkham border till the fresh guidelines,” Rashid said.

Pakistan and Afghanistan share 18 crossing points. The most commonly used ones are Torkham and southwestern Chaman borders.

The recent spike in coronavirus cases amid the third wave has badly hit Afghanistan, pressuring the country’s already fragile health care system.

Fresh case

Pakistan on Tuesday recorded 830 fresh infections, bringing the overall tally to 964,490.

The South Asian country also reported 25 deaths from the COVID-19 over the past 24 hours, pushing the total toll to 22,452.

The number of active cases in the country is 33,390, while 908,648 patients have recovered so far.

Pakistan, which mostly received vaccines from China, has already nearly 18 million shots so far. Anyone over 18 years old is eligible for vaccination.

It has also started administering the Moderna COVID-19 jab, as the country’s anti-virus task force said it is now available in select vaccination centers across the country.

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