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Coronavirus: GCC travellers to Pakistan must take PCR test – News

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Additionally, travellers have to download the PassTrack mobile app and also undergo a health screening upon arrival at Pakistani airports.

Travellers from the UAE and other Gulf countries – except Saudi Arabia – to Pakistan will need a negative Covid-19 test result from October 5. Passengers will need to take the test within 96 hours of the travel date. Those aged less than 12 years, travellers with special needs and high-level international delegations are exempt from this requirement.

Additionally, travellers have to download the PassTrack mobile app and also undergo a health screening upon arrival at Pakistani airports. Travel information needs to be submitted via the app 48 hours before arrival in Pakistan. Passengers will need to submit this information for airlines to issue their boarding passes. Airline crew members also need to submit this information.

The Pakistani government has specified two categories for countries of origin. These lists will be reviewed and updated every fortnight.

Islamabad has exempted travellers from 38 countries from the need to have a negative Covid-19 test. Some of the major countries are Australia, Canada, China, Germany, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Norway, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Thailand and Turkey, among others.

Safety protocols

The government has specified some safety protocols for travellers. Cabin crew members are required to provide hand sanitisers every hour during the flight to each passenger. All passengers are required to wear face masks throughout the duration of the flight except during meal times. The masks shall be provided by the airline at check-in counters of the airport if the passengers do not have their own.

Under the new guidelines, no meet and greet shall be allowed at the airport and drivers shall stay inside the vehicle in the parking lot.

Mohammed Aslam, a UAE resident for over five years, said this was on the expected lines because most of the countries around the world demand negative Covid-19 test from foreign travellers.

“It was long due because many countries have already implemented this rule. And this will be an additional burden on overseas Pakistanis, but this is the new normal,” said Aslam.

Abul Hassan, a long-time UAE resident, said though this decision is a good precautionary measure to stop the spread of the coronavirus in Pakistan, it will be a “financial burden”.

“Most of the people returning to Pakistan are labourers or those who have lost jobs, so this will be an extra burden on them. The Pakistan government has exempted several countries from the coronavirus test condition and the UAE deserves to be on that list. The UAE is among the few countries which has contained the pandemic well. I hope Pakistan authorities will consider to put the UAE in the list of exempted countries,” he said.

waheedabbas@khaleejtimes.com 





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