Pakistan extends travel curbs on passengers from UK, South Africa

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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.

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