Pakistan Extends Travel Restrictions on Six Countries Including UK Till February 28
Representative image (AFP)
Pakistan has extended the travel restrictions on several countries, including the UK, till February 28 to contain the spread of the deadly variant of the coronavirus amidst a second wave of infections, authorities said. The Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority (PCAA) on Friday said people from countries in its category-C including South Africa, the United Kingdom, Brazil, Ireland, Portugal and the Netherlands would be affected by the travel restrictions till February 28, Dawn newspaper reported on Saturday. However, it added that they would be allowed to enter the country if permitted by the National Command and Operation Centre, the top decision making body on COVID-19.
The PCAA also reduced the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test requirement for the countries categorised as B and C from 96 to 72 hours. The travel-related standard operating procedures (SOPs) issued by the PCAA in December and January have also been extended till February 28.
The authority has placed 24 countries in category-A and six in category-C. The PCAA said the international travellers from the countries placed in category-A do not require COVID-19 PCR test for entry into Pakistan. The travellers from category-B countries are required to undergo the test before commencement of travel to Pakistan (maximum 72 hours old).
However, the travellers from C-category countries are restricted and only allowed as per the guidelines provided by the NCOC. The restrictions on travellers from C-category countries have been extended following the increasing number of cases reported there during the second wave of COVID-19. The second wave of the pandemic hit Pakistan in November.
On December 21, Pakistan imposed temporary curbs for a week on in-bound passengers from the UK after the emergence of a new coronavirus strain. The country then extended the ban on flights from the UK for another week over fears of the new variant of the coronavirus which was reportedly spreading at a much faster rate.
The total number of coronavirus cases in the country has surged to 543,214 after 2,179 cases were reported in the last 24-hour and the number of fatalities reached 11,623.