Wednesday, April 28, 2021
Web Desk

Norway, Iran introduce travel restrictions for Pakistan in fear of Indian coronavirus variant

Travellers heading to Norway from Pakistan will now be required to quarantine at a hotel; Iran closes land borders

Web Desk
A look at the international departures section at an airport. Photo: File

  • Under the new rules, travellers heading to Norway from Pakistan will now be required to quarantine at a hotel.
  • Iran closes its land borders with Pakistan after banning flights from the country last week.
  • Norway and Iran have both placed restrictions on Pakistan out of fear of the Indian coronavirus variant.

Norway and Iran on Wednesday became the latest countries to impose restrictions or close their borders to Pakistani citizens entering their country out of fear of the dangerous Indian variant of coronavirus.

"The rate of infections is very high in India, among other countries. In order to limit the risk of imported cases of new COVID-19 variants, we are now introducing stricter entry restrictions for travellers arriving from India and its neighbouring countries, as well as Iraq", Norway’s Justice and Public Security Minister Monica Maeland was quoted as saying in a statement.

Read more: Canada announces suspension of flights from Pakistan, India

Under the new rules, travellers coming from Bangladesh, India, Iraq, Nepal, and Pakistan will now be required to stay at a quarantine hotel.

“This means that people who undertake necessary travel to these countries will also be required to stay at a quarantine hotel,” said the statement.

The European country said that the measures will come into effect on Wednesday 28 April at 12pm.

Iran closes land borders with Pakistan

Separately, Iran announced the closure of its land border with Pakistan in fear of the coronavirus cases being reported from India, reported Fars News Agency.

"The Southeastern borders with Pakistan would only allow the return of Iranian and Pakistani nationals to their countries after the new ban is imposed on Wednesday," said a statement issued by the Iranian customs office that was quoted by the publication.

Read more: Oman to impose travel bans on India, Pakistan and Bangladesh

Iranian Customs Office Spokesman Rouhollah Latifi said that the Iranian government will introduce “hygiene controls” on trucks arriving from Pakistan for the next 10 days. He added that commercial vessels from Pakistan will only be allowed to load and unload at Iranian ports after going through some strict checks and controls.

Last week, Iran had banned flights from India and Pakistan over fears that an Indian variant of the coronavirus could spread in the country.

Qatar issues quarantine policy for Pakistani travellers

On the other hand, Qatar’s Public Health Ministry revised the hotel quarantine policy for travellers coming from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka and the Philippines.

Qatari newspaper The Peninsula reported that as per the new policy, a 10-day hotel quarantine for all travellers from the six countries is mandatory even if they are vaccinated against COVID-19.

Apart from this, the travellers will also have to have a negative PCR COVID-19 test taken from the designated health facilities 48 hours before their departure for Qatar.

“The travellers will undergo a repeat PCR test at their quarantine facility within 24 hours of their arrival, and will be tested again before the end of their quarantine period,” said the publication.

Pakistan records highest single-day death toll of COVID-19 pandemic 

The restrictions and border closure come as Pakistan reported 201 new coronavirus-related fatalities in the last 24 hours, which is the highest single-day death toll recorded since the outbreak last year.

This is the first time coronavirus deaths in the country have crossed the 200-mark.

According to the official data from the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC), which synergises government efforts against COVID-19, the death toll in the country reached 17,329 with the latest surge.

Pakistan also reported the highest deaths of people on ventilators, with 84 fatalities today.

Read more: UK adds Pakistan to its 'red list' of travel ban countries

There are now 1,045 deaths reported on ventilators since April 2021. In the last 10 days, 473 people on ventilators have lost their lives to coronavirus.

As of today, 664 vents are occupied across the country whereas there are no patients on life support system in Azad Jammu Kashmir (AJK) and Balochistan.

Read more: Pakistan announces ban on tourism, travel during Eid holidays

Pakistan conducted 49,101 tests for coronavirus, out of which 5,292 returned positive. The total tally of coronavirus cases stands at 810,231 country-wide with the highest cases reported in Punjab so far.

The country's positivity rate has risen to 10.77%, with 88,207 active cases, while the number of recoveries nationwide has reached 704,494 so far.