The National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) announced on Saturday that inbound international flights to Pakistan will be reduced to 20 per cent from May 5 to May 20 amid prevailing global and regional disease (Covid-19) trends.
In view of prevailing global and regional disease trends, Pakistan has decided to reduce inbound international travel from 5 May to 20th May. International flights to Pakistan will be reduced to 20% during this period. pic.twitter.com/wEQDqpkQpd— NCOC (@OfficialNcoc) May 1, 2021
According to a notification issued by the NCOC, there would be no change in existing Catagory C list countries.
"Pakistani passport holders (stranded / short term visa) are allowed to travel to Pakistan subject to exemption by the committee as per procedures in vogue," the communique stated.
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The NCOC further listed testing and quarantine protocols for inbound flights to Pakistan which require a mandatory negative RT PCR test, conducted a maximum of 72 hours before travelling to Pakistan.
There would be also a requirement of Rapid Antigen Testing on arrival at airports in the country whereas negative cases would undergo 10 days of self-quarantine at home with stringent TTO protocols.
"Positive cases will be shifted by Provincial/ District Administration to the self-paid facility for 10 days quarantine with TTO of contacts (if any)," the NCOC added.
"RT PCR test will be conducted on the 8th day of the quarantine period. In case of a negative result, the passenger will be allowed to proceed home. However, in case of a positive result, the passenger will either undergo an additional quarantine period or will be shifted to hospital as per the advice of health authorities."
The NCOC would review the travel restrictions on May 18. It was not immediately clear which routes and air carriers would be affected.
NCOC bans processions, permits majalis with SOPs on Youm-e-Ali
The NCOC has also banned processions on the occasion of Youm-e-Ali. Majalis would be permitted but with strict adherence to Covid-19 SOPs.
This decision was taken in order to minimize the risk factor due to the ongoing surge of Covid-19, especially in major urban centres of the country.
NCOC head Asad Umar emphasised the need to engage religious scholars and community leaders at both provincial and district levels for the implementation of SOPs.
Pakistan has seen record deaths in recent days from the coronavirus, and stricter restrictions on movement and gathering in public are planned for the upcoming Eid holiday.
Officials are worried the country's health care system, already under strain, could reach breaking point if more contagious variants of the virus begin to spread, as has happened in neighbouring India.
On Saturday authorities reported 4,696 new confirmed COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours and 146 deaths from the disease.