ISLAMABAD — Nine more people have been diagnosed with the new coronavirus in Pakistan, increasing the nationwide count to 16, officials say.
In a tweet late on March 9, top health official Zafar Mirza said that all nine were from the southern city of Karachi, the capital of Sindh Province, which has reported a total of 14 cases.
“All these cases are contacts of an already confirmed case. Further contacts are being traced and tested,” Mirza wrote.
Five of the nine were said to have recently travelled from Syria via Doha, Qatar. The four others reportedly travelled from London to Karachi via Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.
Meanwhile, officials in the southwestern province of Balochistan told RFE/RL that all Pakistanis crossing the border with Iran were being screened.
Those with symptoms of coronavirus are being quarantined at four centers established at the border, provincial government spokesman Liaquat Shahwani said.
“Every day between 350 and 500 people come from Iran across the border,” Shahwani said. “We have quarantined 4,000 people for now.”
Pakistan has closed its border with Iran as a precautionary measure against the spread of the virus but allows Pakistanis to return home.
Pakistani authorities have closed the country’s border with Afghanistan for another seven days, Shahwani said.
Both Qatar and Saudi Arabia have banned flights to and from Pakistan.