RAWALPINDI: As Pakistan introduced a stricter travel ban on 23 countries amid the rising Covid-19 cases involving new variants, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) further extended travel restrictions to April 30.
In the wake of a surge in Covid-19 cases in India, the federal government on April 19 placed India in category C countries and banning all chartered and private aircraft flights to Pakistan from that country.
A fresh notification issued by the CAA containing the list of countries categorised as A, B and C was shared by the regulator with 20 countries placed in category A. It also increased the number of countries in category C to 23 after addition of India in it.
The CAA said the revised list that was effective from April 21 to April 24 has been extended to April 30.
According to previous notification effective from March 23, there will be a complete ban on inbound travel to Pakistan from category C countries, including withdrawal of exemptions earlier provided to Pakistani passport and Nicop holders.
The counties included in category C were South Africa, Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Comoros, Mozambique, Zambia, Tanzania, Rwanda, Brazil, Peru, Colombia, Chile, Eswatini, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Malawi, Seychelles, Somalia, Suriname, Uruguay, Venezuela and India.
The CAA said travelers from 20 countries falling in category A did not require Covid-19 test before entry into Pakistan. All countries not specified in category A and C fall in category B.
The category A countries are: Australia, Bhutan, China, Fiji, Japan, Kazakhstan, Laos, Mongolia, Mauritania, Morocco, Myanmar, Nepal, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Sri-Lanka, Tajikistan, Trinidad and Tobago and Vietnam.
The CAA said travelers from countries not specified in category A required Covid-19 PCR test before commencement of travel to Pakistan (maximum 72 hours old).
On the other hand, Pakistan International Airlines has suspended its flights to Canada after the Canadian Aviation Authority imposed a ban on all passengers and cargo flights from Pakistan for 30 days and started making arrangements to bring back its 16-member crew stuck there.
A PIA spokesman said the crew members will be evacuated either through a dedicated cargo flight or through interline arrangements.
Published in Dawn, April 24th, 2021