NCOC says decision taken in view of the new variant
The National Command and Operation Center has imposed a ban on inbound travel from nine more countries in a bid to protect Pakistan from the rapidly spreading new Omicron variant of the coronavirus.
The countries include Netherland, Slovenia, Ukraine, Vietnam, Poland, Ireland, Hungary, and Croatia.
According to the forum, the decision was taken after reviewing the pandemic situation in the country.
Earlier, a complete ban was imposed on inbound travel from South Africa, Mozambique, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Botswana, and Hong Kong.
Consequent to the emergence of the Omicron strain in South Africa, these countries had been placed in category C.
People from category C countries can travel to Pakistan only under specific NCOC guidelines.
Travel from these territories would be allowed only “on extreme emergency” and the travelers will be required to follow health and testing protocols which include
Pakistani travellers from these countries, till December 5, will be allowed without restrictions but with certain conditions. The above-mentioned protocols will remain in place.
Meanwhile, on December 1, five Pakistani passengers tested positive for Covid-19 at Karachi’s Jinnah International Airport after arriving from Saudi Arabia.
Authorities had moved them to a quarantine facility and sent their samples to the laboratory to determine the Covid-19 variant they were infected with.
The development comes amid heightened alert in view after Saudi Arabia detected its first case of the Omicron variant.
The NCOC chief Asad Umar has said that it is inevitable that the COVID-19’s Omicron variant will hit Pakistan because it is impossible to stop viruses from spreading in this world.
Speaking at a press conference last week, he said that the NCOC is taking steps to delay the arrival and minimize the impact of the new variant. “We are ramping up the number of coronavirus tests. We will conduct testing in the high-risk areas,” said Umar.
The government has, on the other hand, approved booster shots for health workers, people above the age of 50, and immunocompromised people. They are being administered Pfizer, Sinopharm, Sinovac, and Moderna jabs. free of cost.