Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) has discontinued its flight operations for China and Japan for at least three weeks in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak. All PIA flights to these countries will stay suspended until March 15.
The PIA management made this decision amid reports of increasing casualties due to the novel coronavirus. So far, the death toll in China has crossed 2,600-mark. Besides, the deadly virus has also caused deaths in Iran, Japan, Italy, France, the USA, and in several other countries.
While announcing the halt of flight operations on Monday, the airline spokesperson said that the ban is a precautionary measure. The decision on whether to resume flights or extend the ban will be taken next week.
PIA flights to Beijing and Tokyo will not depart from today. Travelers of these cities have been notified in advance.
Meanwhile, there are reports of coronavirus outbreak in Iranian city Qom, which has taken at least 15 lives, as per Iranian authorities. However, foreign observers believe that the death toll might have crossed 50 in Qom alone, the largest outside China.
The circumstances have forced Turkey and Pakistan to close their borders with Iran, halting all cross-border activities.
As per reports, the Balochistan Interior Ministry has asked Pakistani pilgrims to avoid visiting Iran for now. As a result, over a hundred pilgrims were called back to Quetta from the Taftan border.
Moreover, the government has also established a special monitor of their movement.