Pakistan cuts international flights to 20 percent to stem virus spread

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has notified the restricted air travel to the country according to which it significantly reduced international air travel from other countries from May 4 to 20 as inbound air traffic will remain at 20 percent amid high virus prevalence in parts of the globe.

Pakistan practically has now reduced the incoming international flights by 80 percent. 

The National Command and Control Centre (NCOC) has notified that the flight plan will be reviewed on May 18, then the next decision would be taken.

The NCOC also issued travel guidelines, according to which all passengers coming to Pakistan from abroad must show a PCR negative test report 72 hours in advance.

The PCR test will be conducted again at the airport on arrival in Pakistan and National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) will be bound to ensure the supply of PCR test kits at all international airports.

In a statement issued on Saturday, the NCOC said, “positive cases will be shifted by provincial/district administration to a self-paid facility for 10-day quarantine with TTQ of contacts (if any).

The PCR test will be conducted on the eighth day of the quarantine period. In case of a negative result, passengers will be allowed to proceed home.

However, in case of positive results, passengers will either undergo additional quarantine periods or will be shifted to hospital as per the advice of health authorities.”

The NCOC also maintained all inbound passengers before leaving to Pakistan will mandatory register on Passtrack App and deportees are exempted for registration on Passtrack App.

As per NOC released data on Saturday for the last 24 hours, there were 48,740 tests conducted, 4,696 people tested COVID-19 positive and the positivity ratio remained 9.6 percent. The country reported 146 deaths.

The NCOC has directed the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and Pakistan International Airline (PIA) to prepare revised air traffic plans. The NCOC also directed the health department to ensure 24-hour staff presence at all international airports.

Aviation Division and Airport Management will assist the health department in conducting tests.  The NCOC has sent a letter to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Interior, CAA, and all provincial chief secretaries.

Earlier, the presence of new Covid-19 variants in the local population was officially confirmed on Friday. 

Sindh Health Minister Dr. Azra Fazal Pechuho in a video message said, “A genomic study carried out by Aga Khan University has shown the presence of the UK-variant in 10 samples while the South Africa and Brazil variants (of Covid-19) were detected in two samples.”