Pakistan bans travel from 15 countries amid looming Omicron threat
Pakistan on Monday banned travel from 15 countries, except under certain conditions, and tightened up travel restrictions on 13 other countries in wake of the threat of the new Covid-19 variant Omicron.
The National Command and Operation Center, the top anti-coronavirus body, reviewed the prevalent Covid-19 situation across the globe in order to revise the policy for categorisation of air travel.
According to a NCOC statement, the meeting revised categories based on disease profile and health protocols applicable to travellers from different countries, which have been placed in three categories, including A, B and C.
Category ‘C’ included 15 countries: Croatia, Hungary, Netherlands, Ukraine, Ireland, Slovenia, Vietnam, Poland, South Africa, Mozambique, Lesotho, Eswatini, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Namibia.
"Complete ban on inbound travel from Category C countries" has been imposed but essential travel from these countries would necessitate obtaining exemption certificate from the exemption committee, according to the statement.
The exemption committee would allow travel only with 100 per cent vaccination for all inbound passengers and those above six would be required to be in possession of a negative PCR test report (max 48 hours old) before boarding.
However, deportees are exempted from PCR test report requirement.
All travellers of above six years would undergo RAT on arrival at the airport even if travelling via direct or indirect flights from Cat ‘C’ countries. RAT negative cases will be allowed to proceed.
However, RAT negative cases from Omicron variant countries (South Africa, Mozambique, Lesotho, Eswatini, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Namibia) will have to undergo 3 days mandatory quarantine followed by PCR test to be conducted on the third day by civil administration. RAT positive cases will be quarantined for 10 days.
The NCOC placed Germany, Trinidad and Tobago, Azerbaijan, Mexico, Sri Lanka, Russia, the US, the UK, Thailand, France, Austria, Afghanistan and Turkey in category B. The travellers from these countries should be 100 per cent vaccinated.
All passengers of six years and above would be required to be in possession of a negative PCR test report (max 48 hours old) before boarding, but deportees are exempted from PCR test requirement.
RAT of random flights will be conducted at the airport on arrival from Category ‘B’ countries. RAT negative cases will be allowed to proceed but RAT positive cases will be quarantined for 10 days.
All other countries not included in Category ‘C’ and ‘B’ were placed in Category ‘A’. The travellers should be 100 per cent vaccinated. All those six and above years should be in possession of a negative PCR test report (max 48 hours old) before boarding. But deportees are exempted from PCR test requirements.
All Pakistanis can travel from Category 'C' countries without exemption till 15 December but testing protocols would be mandatory on arrival.
Meanwhile, Pakistan reported 336 new cases and 10 deaths in the last 24 hours, taking the number of confirmed cases to 1,287,161 and Covid-19 toll to 28,777, according to the Ministry of National Health Services.
So far 1,246,464 people have recovered but some 862 were still in a critical condition.
Pakistan has fully vaccinated over 52 million people while about 82 million were partially vaccinated.
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