Illogical restrictions

Published September 28, 2022

WHEN the Covid pandemic gripped the world in its claws some three years ago, hospitality and aviation sectors around the world were affected rather badly. But after the threat subsided, most countries started taking measures to lift up their respective economies.

The very first step in this regard was relaxation in Covid-related restrictions in order to revive tourism and aviation activities. The governments removed all sorts of restrictions for both vaccinated and non-vaccinated passengers travelling by any mode of transportation, keeping just one condition; PCR test done 72 hours prior to the commencement of travel. This immediately produced positive results and the tourists and home-visitors started moving around easily.

A dominating factor behind the decision to do away with Covid-related restrictions was that despite the fact that 85-95 per cent population had already been vaccinated, hospitals again became crowded because of some other diseases that appeared among the vaccinated population which may or may not be the side effects of the vaccine.

Only in Australia, despite 96pc population having been vaccinated, including boosters, hospitals were found to have no empty beds because some other diseases cropped up, and the doctors were not sure if the Covid vaccine had anything to do with it.

Therefore, most countries decided to lift Covid restrictions on any mode of travel, which was also affecting their economies very badly.

Pakistan has also been sailing in the same boat. It is actually suffering more by not relaxing the conditions. In fact, such strict conditions have been discouraging tourism, business travel from foreign countries to Pakistan, and overseas Pakistanis visiting their families.

It is ultimately affecting the national economy to a great extent because in view of strict Covid guidelines locally, locals as well as overseas Pakistanis have been opting to spend their holidays in countries where there are no restrictions except the PCR test.

Therefore, it is suggested that in order to revive aviation, hospitality, tourism, business and travel sectors, Covid-related conditions, restrictions and procedures should be simplified as has been done by a number of other countries around the globe.

Sajid Mahmood Ansari
Islamabad

Published in Dawn, September 28th, 2022

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