The National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) on Thursday recommended the curtailing of inbound flights to Pakistan from May 5 to May 20 amid the country's worsening coronavirus situation.
The forum in its meeting chaired by Minister for Development and Planning Asad Umar decided to review the restrictions on May 18.
A statement issued after the meeting said detailed instructions regarding the reduction in flights would be provided by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).
During its meeting, the NCOC also reviewed the production and supply of oxygen, granting permission to import 6,000 metric tonnes of oxygen and 5,000 oxygen cylinders to shore up healthcare facilities in the country.
Besides this, the NCOC also allowed the import of 20 cryogenic tanks and decided to shut down the scrap industry of Misri Shah so oxygen could be diverted to the healthcare sector instead.
The meeting also decided that vaccination of people aged between 40 and 49 will begin from May 3.
The NCOC also announced a "Stay Home, Stay Safe" strategy from May 8 to May 16, aimed at controlling the movement of people, including during the Eidul Fitr holidays.
According to the NCOC:
- Eid holidays will be from May 10 to May 15.
- Comprehensive standard operating procedures (SOPs) will be issued for Youm-e-Ali, Aitekaf, Shab-e-Qadar, Juma-tul-Wida, and Eid prayers by May 1.
- All markets, businesses, and shops will remain closed except for essential services.
- Chaand Raat bazaars will be banned.
- There will be a complete ban on tourism and routes leading to tourist destinations will be closed.
- Inter-provincial, inter-city, and intra-city public transport will be banned; private vehicles to operate with 50 per cent capacity.
- Media channels will broadcast special Eid Holiday packages.
Last week, Pakistan introduced a stricter travel ban on 23 countries and extended travel restrictions till April 30.
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 with India added to the list.
According to a 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 travellers from 20 countries falling in category A did not require a Covid-19 test before entry into Pakistan. All countries not specified in category A and C fall in category B.
The CAA said travellers from countries not specified in category A required a Covid-19 PCR test before commencement of travel to Pakistan (maximum 72 hours old).
Pakistan has reported 5,480 new cases of the novel coronavirus in the last 24 hours as well as 150 fatalities. The country's caseload has risen to 815,711 while its death toll stands at 17,680.