Pakistan eases travel restrictions on India amid Covid downturn

NCOC keeps Iran, Bangladesh and several other countries on the list of 'Category-C' nations

News Desk August 14, 2021

National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) — the country's nerve centre for Covid-19 response — has removed India from the list of Category-C countries, after a significant decline in number of coronavirus cases in the neighbouring country.

A devastating rise in infections in April and May, driven largely by the more infectious and dangerous Delta variant, overwhelmed the healthcare system in India and killed at least 170,000 people in May alone.

Read more: Rapid PCR testing begins at airports across Pakistan

The situation prompted many countries including Pakistan to impose travel restrictions on the second-most Covid-19 affected country across the globe. However, the situation has considerably improved over the past couple of months.

According to official data, only 38,667 new coronavirus infections were reported across India in the last 24 hours. Daily deaths owing to the pandemic on the other hand rose by 478, its health ministry said in a statement. Total cases rose to 32.12 million.

According to Express News, the NCOC reviewed the Covid-19 situation around the world during a meeting today. The forum decided to keep Bangladesh, Ecuador, Guatemala, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Mexico, Morocco, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, South Africa, Thailand and Tunisia in the list of Category-C countries but decided to remove India from it.

Also read: Rapid PCR test facility to be available at Karachi airport in two days: CAA

NCOC said that passengers arriving from countries of any category would have to follow the testing protocols set by the Pakistani authorities. It said that Pakistanis travelling to Category-C countries for a short period can return to the country without any hindrance.

"All countries, except the countries in Category-C, have been placed in Category-B," it added.

NCOC further said that the new policy will be implemented with immediate effect and it will be reviewed on September 15.