Under new guidelines, flight crew of direct flights required to secure negative PCR test prior to travel and quarantine upon arrival
The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) on Friday issued new guidelines for the crew of direct flights from the United Kingdom, South Africa, and other category ‘C’ countries in a bid to curb the spread of variant strains of the novel coronavirus that have originated from those nations.
Last month, the CAA had announced “temporary restrictions” on inbound passengers from the U.K. It amended those restrictions to include South Africa earlier this month. In its latest statement, it said that the new standard operating procedures (SOPs) would apply to “flight crew traveling on international flights operated by or on behalf of any airline operator involved in the operation of direct flight operations to Pakistan from the U.K., South Africa and any category-C countries.”
Under the new SOPs, flight crew would only be allowed to travel to Pakistan after securing a negative PCR test, conducted no earlier than 72 hours prior to commencement of travel. It said that flight crew would be expedited in “relevant formalities related to arrival/departure at Pakistan” via dedicated counters at airports. “Flight crew will be exempted from testing on arrival in Pakistan,” it said, adding that this would only be applicable if they displayed no visible symptoms of COVID-19.
“Flight crew will be transported directly to designated hotels upon disembarkation” at airports in designated vehicles that must be arranged by the airline operator concerned, it said, adding that they would be required to observe mandatory quarantine and desist from any interactions outside authorized limits. “Flight crew will be served any foods/meals only in the designated rooms,” it added.
The statement stressed that any flight crew displaying COVID-19 symptoms could be subject to additional testing by health authorities.
Last month, the CAA exempted travelers from 23 countries categorized ‘A’ from requiring negative COVID-19 tests prior to travel to Pakistan. Travelers from countries designated category ‘B’ require negative tests obtained no earlier than 96 hours before commencement of their journey. Travelers from ‘C’ category countries must secure a negative PCR test before traveling to Pakistan and submit to a mandatory test upon arrival.