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Pakistan Imposes Fresh Restrictions on Inbound Travelers

by Newsweek Pakistan
Screening measures at airports in Pakistan

File photo of health checks at an airport in Karachi. Twitter

Children 6-and-above now required to present negative PCR test prior to travel; visitors over 12 to be quarantined at designated facilities

Pakistan’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) on Tuesday issued more stringent restrictions for inbound travelers to the country in a bid to curb the spread of the coronavirus amidst the ongoing fourth wave of the pandemic.

In a travel advisory, the aviation regulator said the new restrictions would come into effect from Aug. 9, and directed all airline operators to ensure strict compliance. It said the following stipulations would now be required for all foreign travelers coming to Pakistan:

  • Inbound passengers aged 6-and-above will be required to produce a negative PCR test secured no earlier than 72 hours prior to commencement of travel
  • All passengers aged 6-and-above will be administered a Rapid Antigen Test upon arrival in Pakistan
  • Passengers between 6 and 12 years old who test positive will be required to quarantine at home, while passengers over 12 who test positive will be quarantined at a government-designated facility

The advisory warned that due to the ever-changing nature of the pandemic, any passenger could be subjected to further restrictions or requirements if and when required by health authorities. “COVID-19 standard operating procedures for international inbound passenger, chartered, and private aircraft flights stand amended to the above extent,” it added.

Pakistan is currently in the midst of a fourth wave of the coronavirus, driven by the highly infectious Delta variant that was originally identified in India. Sindh province has suffered the brunt of the impact thus far, with capital Karachi reporting daily positivity in excess of 20 percent for over a week. The provincial government, last week, imposed a “partial” lockdown last week—set to end on Aug. 9—in a bid to curb the virus’ spread and boost a struggling vaccination drive.

Meanwhile, the National Command and Operation Center has re-imposed several mobility restrictions in major cities across Pakistan, with Planning Minister Asad Umar saying this would help ensure that both lives and livelihoods would be protected. The re-imposed measures would last from Aug. 4 till Aug. 31 and apply to Punjab’s Rawalpindi, Lahore, Multan, and Faisalabad; Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa’s Peshawar and Abbottabad; Sindh’s Karachi and Hyderabad; Islamabad, Mirpur, Muzaffarabad, Gilgit and Skardu.

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