Pakistan govt bans entry of its citizens into Kartarpur Gurudwara, Indians to be allowed (Photo Credit: File)
The Pakistan government on Friday decided to ban the entry of its citizens to Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur, but will continue to allow Indians to the Sikh pilgrimage in a bid to control the spread of the novel coronavirus outbreak. It will also close its border with Iran and Afghanistan, the interior ministry said. The move is the latest such action as countries around the world act swiftly to restrict travel in an attempt to slow the global outbreak, which was this week declared a pandemic.
The closure of Pakistan's porous border with Iran -- where hundreds of people have died from the disease -- and Afghanistan will start March 16.
It will be for "an initial period of two weeks... in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19, in the best interest of all three brotherly countries", Pakistan's interior ministry said, using the scientific name for the highly communicable pathogen.
International flights into Pakistan are not expected to be affected at this time, officials said.
Pakistan has only recorded 21 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus and no deaths, but officials have tested fewer than 500 potential cases in the country of about 215 million people, where health care is frequently inadequate.