Revised guidelines requiring mandatory 10-day quarantine and rapid testing upon arrival to go into effect from May 5
The National Command and Operation Center (NCOC) on Saturday announced that Pakistan was increasing restrictions on inbound air traffic in the wake of “high disease prevalence in various parts of the world” coupled with mounting stress on the country’s critical care system.
“Pakistan has decided to significantly reduce inbound international air travel,” read a press release issued by the body governing the country’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It said that inbound flights would be reduced to 20 percent of their current quantum, adding that there was no change to the list of Category-C countries from which travel was completely banned.
Under the new guidelines, all inbound travelers—regardless of country of origin—would be required to submit to the following quarantine and testing protocols:
- Negative RT-PCR test secured no earlier than 72 hours prior to travel to Pakistan.
- Rapid antigen testing upon arrival to the country.
- Mandatory 10-day self-quarantine at home for all negative cases.
- Positive cases to be shifted to a self-paid quarantine facility for 10 days, with a second test to be conducted on the 8th day of quarantine. Anyone testing negative at that point would be allowed to return home, while those with a second positive test would either undergo additional quarantine or be shifted to hospital, on the basis of advice of health authorities.
- All incoming passengers must register on the government’s PassTrack app prior to commencement of their travel, barring citizens being deported.
The NCOC said that the revised rules would come into effect at midnight on May 4/5, and would remain in place until midnight May 19/20. The NCOC would conduct a review of its efficacy on May 18 to determine if any extension is required, it added.
Pakistan on Saturday reported 4,696 coronavirus infections after conducting 48,740 tests, a positivity ratio of 9.6 percent. Nationwide, 146 deaths were reported, while the number of patients requiring critical care currently stands at 5,490, the highest since the pandemic reached Pakistan in February last year.