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Indian woman with deadly corona variant enters Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: A non-diplomat staff of the Indian High Commission contracting the deadly Indian variant of coronavirus entered Pakistan on Saturday due to the Indian authorities ‘error’.

The Indian High Commission (IHC) has been asked to place the woman under mandatory quarantine along with 12 others, who traveled from India to Pakistan and then to Islamabad. India has yet to offer any word about the development.

Ms. Manju, 32, who came from Dhehradun and was working in the Indian High Commission in Islamabad, crossed over into Pakistan through the Wagha border along with 12 other non-diplomat staff, who had gone to India for holidays.

Foreign Office spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhary told The News Sunday that a group of 12 officials and family members of the Indian High Commission (IHC) in Islamabad crossed over to Pakistan through the Wagha border on 22 May in line with the laid down COVID related health safety protocols.

All 12 passengers carried negative PCR reports. However, upon arrival, the spouse of an official of the IHC tested positive on RAT conducted by the Pakistani health officials.

He said the National Command and Control Centre (NCOC) had advised all 12 officials and their family members along with the driver to undergo mandatory quarantine.

The Indian high commission has been advised to strictly follow the guidelines provided by the NCOC, Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri said.

Dr. Faisal Sultan, who is SAPM and point-man of the federal government for corona, didn’t comment on the development when approached.

It is yet to be determined whether the entry of an active corona patient was part of an intrigue, or it was sheer mistake of the Indian immigration authorities posted at Attari.

Meanwhile, medical experts are of the view that security authorities at the border should have returned the lady to India.

The sources said that five out of 12 persons from the Indian High Commission were spouses of the diplomats, while others were non-diplomatic staff.

Indians claim that Ms. Manju tested negative when she was examined in India but she had symptoms of corona upon RAT on Pakistan’s side of the border. The contingent of 12 people reached in four groups on Pakistan official desk.

According to Indians, they all traveled to Islamabad in separate cars and upon reaching high commission here they were placed under the mandatory quarantine.

The sources said had the Indian immigration authorities tested the traveling persons at Attari, the woman could have been stopped from crossing the border.

Certain quarters fear that the woman might have secured a fake negative corona report but it couldn’t be verified by any measure or independent source.

Diplomatic observers are of the view that it’s a serious breach of international SOPs with regard to the crossborder movement in corona period.

Pakistan should report the matter to the world body and World Health Organization. Pakistan should also lodge a protest with India since it’s not a minor incident that could be ignored conveniently, the sources added.

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