ISLAMABAD: In a revised health protocol and travel advisory, Pakistan has abolished the requirement of a negative PCR test for all fully vaccinated, inbound passengers.

The decision taken by the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) while reviewing the coronavirus situation across the country on Wednesday will be implemented from Thursday (today).

According to an NCOC statement, pre-boarding negative PCR requirement has been abolished for fully vaccinated inbound travellers. However, non-vaccinated individuals over 12 years of age will require a valid pre-boarding negative PCR test to travel to the country. The validity of a 72-hour period will be calculated from the time the sample had been collected by laboratory.

However, the NCOC stated that complete vaccination would be mandatory for all inbound passengers, except children below 12 years of age. Passengers aged between 12 and 18 years would be allowed to travel without the mandatory vaccination till March 31 only.

For deportees and non-vaccinated passengers, rapid antigen tests will be conducted on their arrival at border terminals, according to the NCOC. Among them, positive cases will be allowed to quarantine at home for 10 days.

Earlier on Tuesday, the UAE government exempted all Pakistani passengers travelling to Dubai and Sharjah from rapid antigen test though they were required to submit a valid negative PCR test at airports, a spokesman for Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority said. However, passengers will have to undergo Covid-19 PCR test on arrival in Dubai and must remain in self-quarantine until the test results come out.

According to the NCOC, coronavirus positivity rate across the country has dropped to 2.95 per cent. In all, 1,232 more cases were detected in the past one day during which a total of 43 patients died. The official data shows that as many as 1,230 patients were hospitalized across the country.

Amid the ongoing vaccination efforts, Pakistan is expected to receive another consignment of AstraZeneca vaccines. According to Reuters, Romania on Wednesday announced that it would donate 1.1 million AstraZeneca vaccines to Pakistan, Bangladesh, Algeria and Libya.

Battle against polio

Also, in its ongoing fight against poliovirus, the government on Wednesday launched this year’s first nationwide polio campaign, which will begin from February 28, with an aim to reach more than 43 million children under five.

A workforce of 339,521 polio frontline staff will administer polio drops to children below five years at their doorstep.

Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health Dr Faisal Sultan formally laun­ched the campaign at the Rural Health Centre of Tarlai in Islamabad.

Published in Dawn, February 24th, 2022

Opinion

Editorial

Olympics contingent
21 Jul, 2024

Olympics contingent

FROM 10 in Tokyo the last time, it is now down to seven in Paris, and split across just three disciplines. When...
Grave concerns
21 Jul, 2024

Grave concerns

PUNJAB Chief Minister Maryam Nawaz’s open assault on the Supreme Court for ruling in favour of the PTI in the...
Civil unrest
Updated 21 Jul, 2024

Civil unrest

The government must start putting out fires instead of fanning more flames.
Royal tantrum
Updated 20 Jul, 2024

Royal tantrum

The PML-N's confrontational stance and overt refusal to respect courts orders on arguably flimsy pretexts is a dangerous sign.
Bangladesh chaos
Updated 20 Jul, 2024

Bangladesh chaos

The unfortunate events playing out in Bangladesh should serve as a warning sign for other South Asian states.
Fitch’s estimate
20 Jul, 2024

Fitch’s estimate

FITCH seems to be more optimistic about Pakistan accelerating its economic growth rate to 3.2pc during this fiscal...