Decision taken in bid to curb the spread of new, mutated strain of COVID-19
Pakistan’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) on Monday extended till Jan. 4 restrictions on travelers inbound from the U.K. as part of measures to curb the spread of a new, more infectious, strain of the novel coronavirus.
On Dec. 21, the CAA announced that Pakistan was implementing harsher restrictions for travelers from the U.K. for a week—Dec. 22-29—adding that it would also retroactively apply on any travelers who had already reached the country in the 10 days prior. Under the guidelines, Pakistani passport holders with Business, Visitor or Transit visas to the U.K. could return to the U.K. if they secured a negative PCR test within 72 hours of their travel.
The CAA said the government had also allowed Pakistanis with study, family, work and settlement visas in the U.K. to return to Pakistan if their visas were set to expire within 30 days. It said that all incoming travelers would be required to quarantine for seven days and get retested at the airport, adding that they would also have to install the PassTrack app on their phones to record their basic information with the government.
According to the CAA’s earlier notification, flight crewmembers from the U.K. could disembark in Pakistan if they get tested upon arrival and are found to be negative for the coronavirus. Anyone who tests positive would have to quarantine for the duration of their stay.
Over 40 countries have banned air travel from the U.K. in light of a new strain of COVID-19 that it reportedly up to 70 percent more infectious—though no deadlier, according to health experts.