Pakistan eases travel restrictions for foreign passengers amid low COVID-19 cases

The health and testing protocols for inbound travellers will also come into effect from November 5, according to NCOC, mandating 100 per cent vaccination for all inbound passengers.

Pakistan on Wednesday, November 3 further decrease the restrictions imposed upon inbound air travel imposed in light of COVID-19, allowing ait traffic to operate at full capacity in the country beginning from November 10. 

The National Command and Operation Center (NCOC), the nation’s top regulatory body overseeing the COVID-19 pandemic, stated that the inbound travel constraints have been revised following the guidelines for implementing mandatory vaccination for inbound travellers that came into effect on October 21.

Moreover, an official from the Ministry of National Health Service, also highlighted that three categories have been formulated by Pakistan to divide foreign countries based on their COVID-19 risk factor to manage the pandemic in the country. 

He stated that countries placed under category A are exempted from providing a negative COVID-19 test before travelling, while countries in category B will require a negative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test that must be taken at most 72 hours before the date of travel. Specific flights and symptomatic passengers from category B will also be required to take the rapid antigen test (RAT). 

Meanwhile, nine countries including Armenia, Bulgaria, Costa Rica, Iraq, Mexico, Mongolia, Slovenia, Thailand, Trinidad & Tobago and Ukraine have been positioned under category C owing to the high positivity rate and death rate as well as low administration of COVID-19 vaccines in the countries.  

Travel for citizens belonging to category C will be restricted and only permitted under specific NCOC guidelines, the regulatory body directed. 

However, no travel restrictions have been imposed on travellers from countries such as Russia, Iran, Ethiopia, Germany, the Philippines and Afghanistan but they have been termed high-risk and placed under continuous monitoring of the spread of infections. 

The health and testing protocols for inbound travellers will also come into effect from November 5, according to NCOC, mandating 100 per cent vaccination for all inbound passengers and a negative PCR test report from all travellers over the age of 6 years before boarding the flight. 

Pakistan is close to achieving the target of 70 million fully vaccinated citizens by the end of 2021 as per NCOC, and 40 million of the eligible population of the country is completely vaccinated against COVID-19. According to NCOC, more than 70 million people are partially vaccinated in the country to date.

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