The Pakistani nationals had special passes to facilitate their transport

Five Pakistani nationals crossed over to their country from India on Sunday morning through the Attari-Wagah border, amid fears of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), that is spreading like wildfire throughout the world. Notably, this comes amid the 21-day lockdown enforced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to ensure social distancing for cutting off the spread of the virus.

The five Pakistani nationals arrived at the ICP Attari in Punjab's Amritsar at about 09:20 AM on Sunday morning, sources said, adding that these individuals had special passes to facilitate their crossing over to the Pakistan side from India. It is to be noted that Pakistan had earlier sealed the Attari-Wagah border as a preventive measure to minimise the risk of the spread of COVID-19, and thereby the passage of these five individuals were treated as special cases to facilitate them crossing over to their native country.

The Pakistani nationals had come to India on March 8 on medical visas for receiving liver treatment. Although one of them received a successful liver transplant at a private hospital in Uttar Pradesh's Noida on March 16, the group was hit with the increasingly worsening condition of the COVID-19 crisis in South Asia, whereby India went into a 21-day lockdown with a number of transportation and immigration facilities being cut off. Thereby, the Pakistani nationals were issued special permission by the Pakistani and Indian High Commissions in the two respective countries to facilitate their transport. After immigration and customs clearance, the Pakistani nationals departed to their country from the ICP Attari at about 09:55 AM on Sunday, sources said.

Earlier, however, it was reported that several families had got stuck near the Joint Check Post at the Attari border due to the country sealing off immigration formalities, leaving an exception only for diplomats.

As of 4:30 PM on Sunday, around 987 people across India and 1,526 people in Pakistan have been reported to have contracted the COVID-19 disease. The virus has affected around 678,720 people worldwide. The global death toll has hit 31,700, according to the COVID-19 statistics centre at the John Hopkins University.