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pakistan
Monday Jan 04 2021
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Coronavirus: Pakistan eases travel restrictions for inbound travel from UK, South Africa

A Reuters file image of Islamabad International Airport.
  • Guidelines issued after NCOC decision
  • Travel restrictions have been eased, authority confined Monday
  • Negative PCR test compulsory to travel to Pakistan

KARACHI: The Civil Aviation Authority on Monday issued fresh guidelines for inbound passengers travelling from the United Kingdom and South Africa.

The travel restrictions have been eased following decisions by the National Command and Operations Centre (NCOC) and will be effective January 5 and last till January 31. 

Under the fresh guidelines, Pakistani nationals with short-term UK and South African visit visas and Pakistani passports, including work permit holders, or any type of visa issued by the British/ South African authorities are allowed to travel to Pakistan. 

The CAA has also allowed diplomats and their families to travel to Pakistan from the UK and South Africa. 

Read more: UK COVID-19 strain detected in Karachi

The passengers would need a negative PCR test result conducted 72 hours prior to travel. "However, any or all passengers travelling to Pakistan from UK or South Africa will be subjected to PCR testing, quarantine or isolation and other stipulations as specified by the health authorities upon arrival in Pakistan," read the statement. 

In addition, passengers holding valid National Identity Card for Overseas Pakistanis (NICOP) or Pakistan Origin Card (POC) and having stayed in the UK or South Africa in the last 10 days prior may travel to Pakistan "with a negative PCR test conducted 72 hours prior to travel".

The guidelines said that "any and all passengers will also be subjected to Rapid Antigen Tests upon arrival in Pakistan whereby all negative testing passengers will be allowed to leave the airport with the advice to self-quarantine/ isolate for a period of five days".

Those who test positive will be subjected to quarantine at home until they test negative.

Read more: Pakistani nationals protest at Heathrow Airport

Countries including Pakistan placed travel restrictions and closed their borders to the United Kingdom after a new strain of the coronavirus was detected earlier this month.

The new strain, referred to by some experts as the B.1.17 lineage, is not the first variant of COVID-19 pandemic, but it is said to be up to 70% more transmissible than the previously dominant strain in the UK.

It has since been detected in some European countries, South Africa, India, Japan and Pakistan.