fbpx mmnews

Coronavirus: Pakistan bans travellers from India for two weeks

ISLAMABAD: The National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) has imposed a ban on travelers from India for the next two weeks, amid the spread of a new variant of the novel COVID-19 in the neighboring country.

According to a statement issued by the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) on Monday, the forum decided to place India in the list of Category C countries for two weeks. The statement further said there will be a ban on inbound passengers coming from India via air and land route.

The decision was taken during a meeting of the forum today, presided over by Minister for Planning and Development Asad Umar.

The forum was briefed about the spread of the new Indian variant of the coronavirus a double-mutant variant that was considered responsible for the recent surge in infections in the neighboring country.

India reported a record rise in coronavirus infections of 273,810, as hospitals across the country struggle with a shortage of hospital beds and oxygen supplies and capital New Delhi announced a complete curfew.

India’s overall coronavirus caseload is now past 15 million, second only to the United States globally. The country’s deaths from COVID-19 rose by a record 1,619 to reach a total of 178,769, according to health ministry data.

Indian social media was flooded with people complaining about the lack of beds, oxygen cylinders and drugs, and citizen groups circulating helpline numbers and volunteering support. Maharashtra is the worst-affected state, with data showing more than 68,000 new infections there in the past 24 hours.

The government said hospitals usually reserved for employees of ministries or public sector companies should convert some of their wards into COVID-19 facilities equipped with ICU and oxygen-supported beds, ventilators, laboratories and healthcare staff.

Special trains would transport oxygen tankers to needy states, while the government said oxygen use for industrial purposes would be limited. In the capital New Delhi — the worst-hit city in India — 25,500 infections were reported in the past 24 hours.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal tweeted late Sunday that there was an “acute shortage of oxygen”, adding in capital letters that “oxygen has become an emergency” in the megapolis. “The cases are rising very fast… only 100 beds left,” Kejriwal said,

He said additional beds would be set up at some schools and a sports complex. His government added that millions of pilgrims who attended the ongoing Kumbh Mela religious festival had to quarantine for two weeks if they returned to Delhi.

Nearly 3,700 people have tested positive in the past week in the city of Haridwar, which lies along the Ganges River where the Kumbh Mela is being observed. Health experts have warned the festival could become a “super-spreader” event.

In West Bengal state, where an election is being held with rival parties holding huge rallies sparking further super-spreader fears. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee appealed for more oxygen and coronavirus medicines such as remdesivir.