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ISLAMABAD: The National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) on Wednesday lifted inbound travel restrictions for Category B countries including all high risk states other than Category C amid enforcement of obligatory vaccination for inbound travel October 1.

The NCOC meeting revised the Covid-19 related travel policy, health and testing protocols.

The Forum opined that owing to mass vaccination undertaken by various countries, a downward trend was witnessed in all Covid indicators across the globe.

It added that after enforcement of obligatory vaccination for inbound travel in Pakistan with effect from October 1, Covid-19 related travel policy and health/ testing protocols were revised.

The Forum decided that inbound air traffic would operate at full quantum with effect from November 10, 2021.

After revision in the Inbound Travel Policy, following countries on the basis of high positivity, high daily Covid cases/deaths and low vaccination rate were placed in “Category C” including Armenia, Bulgaria, Costa Rica, Iraq and Mexico.

However, the high-risk countries comprised of Mongolia, Slovenia, Thailand, Trinidad & Tobago and Ukraine.

Moreover, in the wake of high disease indicators, Russia, Iran, Ethiopia, Germany, Philippines and Afghanistan were placed in high-risk category for continuous monitoring, however, no travel restriction was imposed on these states.

All countries (including high-risk countries) less Category “C” were placed in Category “B” with no inbound travel restrictions, the Forum decided in its meeting.

After the revised policy, health and testing protocols for Inbound Air Travel for implementation with effect from November 5, 2021, were 100 percent vaccination for all inbound passengers, all passengers of 6-year age and above (locals / foreigners) should be in possession of negative PCR test report (maximum 72 hours old) before boarding.

Furthermore, 100% RAT (rapid antigen test) on arrival at airport for all inbound passengers was abolished less passengers travelling via direct flight from Category “C” and high-risk countries It added that the selective flights ad symptomatic passengers from Category B countries would also undergo RAT.

“Testing protocols are also applicable for all inbound border terminals less Afghanistan,” it decided. The Forum allowed that Afghani Inbound pedestrians could travel to Pakistan through Border Terminals without vaccination certificate and PCR test.

However, they would undergo stringent testing and quarantine protocols as already in place, it added.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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