ISLAMABAD - Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday ordered opening of the Pak-Afghan border in Chaman despite global pandemic to support Afghan brothers and sisters as the region feels the pinch of the novel coronavirus outbreak.

In a tweet, Prime Minister said: “Despite global pandemic of COVID 19, we remain com mitted to supporting our Afghan brothers & sisters.”

The premier further said that he had given instructions to open the border between Chaman and Spin Boldak, Kandahar. He also told authorities to “let trucks crossover into Afghanistan.” “In time of crisis, we remain steadfast with Afghanistan,” the PM said.

The John Hopkins data said Afghanistan had 22 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and one death. According to International Organisation of Migration, over 100,000 Afghans were deported or returned voluntarily from Iran since the outbreak of the virus in the country.

Majority of Pakistan’s 457 confirmed cases were pilgrims who returned from Iran through the Taftan crossing while others are with travel history. In Sindh, over 40 patients contracted the diseases locally.

PM Imran’s decision comes at a time when countries across the globe have close down borders and restricted air travel to contain the deadly pneumonia-like virus that has caused over 9,000 deaths and infected over 200,000.