Civil Aviation Authority makes negative PCR tests and proof of vaccinations mandatory for all incoming travelers
The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) on Tuesday announced revised guidelines for inbound travel to Pakistan as health authorities warned that the country had entered the fifth wave of the coronavirus pandemic amidst an uptick in new coronavirus cases nationwide.
In a statement, the aviation regulator said that it had abolished the Category B and C country lists and was now implementing the same travel advisories for all incoming travelers. Earlier, all inbound travel was banned from Category C countries, while Category B countries faced stricter restrictions as compared to Category A nations, travelers from which faced few-to-none travel advisories.
Under the new guidelines, said the CAA, proof of COVID-19 vaccination was mandatory for all passengers over 15 years old. Similarly, it said, all incoming travelers over-6 must provide a negative PCR-test conducted no earlier than 48 hours prior to commencement of travel.
Upon arrival to Pakistan, passengers over 6 years old must also submit to the following measures, depending on their place of origin:
- Rapid antigen testing upon arrival for all direct flights from Europe
- Rapid antigen testing upon arrival for at least 50% of flights from Saudi Arabia, the U.A.E., and Qatar
- Selective rapid antigen testing for all remaining inbound flights
“Any and all passengers producing a positive rapid antigen test upon arrival will be quarantined at a self-paid/government facility for 10 days and a PCR test will be conducted on day 8 of such quarantine,” read the CAA statement.
It said that Pakistanis who were currently abroad and had not been vaccinated against the coronavirus could secure exemptions for their return so long as they could prove they had relevant medical conditions; had expired visas or were illegal immigrants facing deportation; were pregnant; or were between 15 and 18 years old.
Earlier, the National Command and Operation Center that oversees the government’s efforts to counter COVID-19 had issued a statement warning that a fifth wave of the pandemic, driven by the Omicron variant, had commenced in Pakistan. Urging people to wear masks and get vaccinated as soon as possible, authorities warned that it was still too early to determine the full impact of the new wave, stressing that more information would emerge in the next two weeks.