Nearly 200 Pakistanis stranded in a nationwide coronavirus lockdown on the
other side of the border in India have been able to cross back home.
Border security forces allowed on Tuesday masked passengers in private vehicles with luggage strapped to roofs to cross the Attari-Wagah border that separates the sprawling Punjab region split between Indian and Pakistan. The border opened on Tuesday for the first time since the ongoing lockdown began.
Wahid Khan, a 55-year-old from Lahore, Pakistan’s second-largest city, said he and five family members were in the north Indian state of Uttar Pradesh visiting relatives when the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi imposed a near-total lockdown to curb the spread of the virus on March 24. Khan said authorities were helpful and extended his family’s visas without incident.
India has recorded nearly 45,000 cases and more than 1,500 deaths. The lockdown was partially lifted on Monday to allow some employment for the millions of daily wage workers who found themselves jobless overnight and have survived only on donated food. But the pace of infection is growing and experts say the virus still hasn’t reached its peak in India.