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Saturday May 01 2021
Web Desk

Pakistan cuts international flights to 20% to curb COVID-19 cases

Web Desk
Pakistan plans to reduce the number of inbound international flights to 20% of current numbers to curb rising COVID-19 cases.
  • Pakistan restricts number of flights to curb coronavirus.
  • NCOC decides to reduce inbound international travel from May 5 to May 20.
  • On Saturday, Pakistan reported 4,696 new confirmed COVID-19 cases

ISLAMABAD: The National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) on Saturday issued an advisory reducing the number of inbound international flights to 20% to curb a further rise in COVID-19 cases.

"Amid high disease prevalence in various parts of the world and current disease situation in the country with corresponding extreme stress on the critical care system. Pakistan has decided to significantly reduce inbound International Air Travel from 5 May to 20th May," said the NCOC in a statement on Twitter.

It was not immediately clear which routes and air carriers will be affected.

Read more: After UK, South African and Brazilian variants have entered Sindh, says Dr Azra Pechuho

The NCOC said the decision will be reviewed on May 18.

Inbound air traffic will operate at 20% of the total current quantum, while there is no change in the existing Category 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 NCOC statement read.

All inbound travellers to Pakistan, including those from the Category C list countries, must have a negative repeat PCR test before travelling to Pakistan (maximum 72 hours old) while a rapid antigen test will be done on arrival at the airport.

Read more: Pakistan has 57% more critical COVID-19 patients now than it did last June, says Asad Umar

Negative cases will undergo 10 days of self-quarantine at home with stringent TTO protocols.

The statement said positive cases will be shifted by the provincial/ district administration to a self-paid facility for 10 days quarantine with TTO of contacts (if any) and a repeat 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 be shifted to hospital as per the advice of health authorities.

The NCOC stated that registration on the Passtrack App by all inbound travellers before travelling to Pakistan is mandatory, however, deportees are exempted from registration on the app.

Read more: Chand raat bazaars, shopping malls to remain closed from May 8-15, says NCOC

Record rise in COVID-19 cases

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.