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KARACHI (Pakistan), April 20 -- Pakistan on Monday banned travellers coming from India for the next two weeks, fearing the spillover of a new variant of the coronavirus from the neighbouring country, reported Anadolu Agency.
The decision was taken at a meeting of the National Command and Operations Centre (NCOC), a state-run body that oversees the country's anti-virus strategy which is presided over by Minister for Planning Asad Umar, said a statement by the centre.
"The forum has decided to place India in the list of Category C countries for two weeks. There will be a ban on inbound passengers coming from India via air and land routes," the statement said.
Travellers from Category C countries cannot travel to Pakistan, even Pakistani citizens, without prior approval, according to the NCOC's safety protocol.
The meeting, the statement added, was briefed about the spread of the new Indian variant of the coronavirus – a “double-mutant” variant – which is considered responsible for a recent spike in infections in the neighbouring country.
As India recorded a fresh daily high of over 273,000 coronavirus cases over 24 hours, the government in the capital New Delhi on Monday announced a weeklong lockdown to curb the spread of the virus.
India has so far reported over 15 million positive cases of the coronavirus and 178,769 deaths.
Pakistan's total caseload stands at 761,437 with 16,316 fatalities.