CAA waives off QR code requirement to facilitate passengers
The Pakistan International Airlines offloaded 38 passengers from its plane traveling from Madinah, Saudi Arabia to Pakistan for not carrying the original coronavirus test reports and the valid QR code, a spokesperson for the airline said Wednesday.
The spokesperson said that the Civil Aviation Authority had made it mandatory for the passengers to carry the reports with valid QR code. He added the passengers were offloaded from PK-944 because they had photocopies of the reports that didn’t have QR codes.
After the protest by the passengers, the CAA waived off the QR code requirement in order to facilitate the stranded passengers, the authority said in a notification.
On May 10, the CAA had said in a notification that international passengers landing in the country, especially from Gulf states, have tested positive for the novel coronavirus on the airports despite a negative PCR test result.
“Upon conducting an investigation into the issue, it has been found that the passengers travelled to Pakistan using fake PCR negative test results,” a notification by the authority stated.
“This endangered not only others travelling with them, but also undermined the intense efforts being made at the national level to curb the spread of Covid-19.”
The CAA has instructed all airlines operating in the country to ensure passengers carry Covid-19 test results conducted by government labs.
Last week, the authority began rapid Covid-19 testing of international passengers at airports across Pakistan. According to the Health Ministry, through these tests, coronavirus reports will be obtained within 20 minutes.
If the reports come out positive, the passengers will have to isolate at a quarantine centre at their own expense. Those who test negative will be allowed to go home but will have to stay indoors for a week.
Earlier this month, the government extended its ban on the arrival of passengers from 23 countries in Category C to curb the spread of the deadly virus.