ISLAMABAD – Pakistani yesterday extended travel restrictions till January 31 for all those passengers coming from UK and South Africa into the country.
Since December 21, Pakistan had put in place temporary restrictions on all passengers travelling from UK into Pakistan after reports had emerged that fast-moving new strain of coronavirus detected in Britain. The restrictions were in force till January 4.
According to new rules and regulations issued by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) in light of the decisions of the National Command and Control Center (NCOC), the government has given conditional permission to some Pakistanis living in UK and South Africa to return home. They can avail the facility from today (January 5) and January 9 separately.
According to the notification, Pakistani nationals with short term UK and South African visit visas and Pakistan passport holders including work permit holders, having any type of visa issued by the British or South African Authorities, may travel to Pakistan from January 5 in accordance with applicable rules and regulations. They would have to follow all standard operating procedures (SOPs) while in possession of a negative PCR test result conducted within 72 hours prior to commencement of travel to Pakistan.
In addition to that, all passengers travelling to Pakistan from these two countries will be subject to PCR testing, quarantine and other stipulations as specified by Health Authorities upon their arrival in Pakistan.
Since January 5, diplomats in Britain and South Africa and their families have been given special permission to travel to Pakistan. However, they will also be required to get tested in negative 72 hours before travelling. They will also be re-tested upon arrival in Pakistan and will be quarantined in their respective embassies/high commissions, if required, as directed by the Health Authorities.
Since January 9, passengers holding valid NICOPs or Pakistan Origin Cards (POCs) and having stayed in UK or South Africa in the last 10 days prior to travel to Pakistan, may travel to Pakistan in accordance with applicable rules, regulations and SOPs.
However, all such passengers will also have to get testes in negative 72 hours before travelling. Upon arrival in Pakistan, their rapid antigen tests would be conducted. All negative testing passengers will be allowed to leave the airport with the advice to self-quarantine for a period of five days. All positive testing passengers will be subject to PCR testing by the relevant health authorities with the advice to “ensure strict self-quarantine at time till the results of such PCR tests,” according to the notification.
On the other hand, the National Institute of Health (NIH) confirmed the presence of the new variant of coronavirus amongst two individuals who had visited the UK. This is in follow up to preliminary reports of the existence of this variant, which have now been confirmed via whole-genome sequencing, said a statement issued by the NCOC.