RAWALPINDI: As many as 294 American citizens, including nine diplomats, departed for the US aboard a special flight from Islamabad and Karachi in the early hours of Friday morning.
According to a spokesman for the aviation division, the chartered plane first landed at Karachi airport and then at Islamabad to take back the American citizens as the US authorities had planned to evacuate its people.
The special chartered flight arrived at the Karachi airport to take 119 US citizens and then the flight reached the Islamabad International Airport to take 175 US citizens, including some diplomats, according to sources.
At both airports, special arrangements had been made to check the spread of coronavirus as scanning of passengers and spray to their luggage were carried out by the Pakistani authorities. Besides the luggage, some pets were also with the passengers.
The special flight took off for the US from Islamabad International Airport at 0145 hours.
Earlier on March 22, several US embassy staff in Islamabad had departed for America on a flight contracted by a private company.
Meanwhile, as many as 195 Pakistanis stranded in Istanbul (Turkey) arrived at the Islamabad International Airport on a Pakistan International Airlines flight on Friday night.
An FIA immigration official said the 195 Pakistanis stranded in Turkey were brought to Islamabad on a Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) special flight PK-782, which was operated from Karachi to Toronto on Thursday.
Soon after their arrival, all the Pakistani passengers were screened by the health authorities at the Islamabad airport. They were later shifted to different hotels for quarantine.
The government has planned a week-long repatriation flight operation from Saturday to bring back its nationals stranded overseas due to the suspension of international flight operation in the wake of Covid-19 pandemic.
Published in Dawn, April 4th, 2020