ISLAMABAD: The government of Pakistan has extended the date for stranded Pakistanis in category “C” countries hit with Omicron variant to return home until December 31, 2021.

According to an announcement of the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) released here on Tuesday, “Pakistanis including valid NICOP/POC holders can travel without exemption from Category C countries till 31st Dec 2021. However, proof of vaccination, PCR test pre-boarding (max 48 hours old) and mandatory quarantine (Omicron countries) will remain applicable”.

According to the NCOC, passengers travelling from Category C countries will be required to submit proof of vaccination and take a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test 48 hours prior to boarding.

They will be placed under mandatory quarantine upon arrival, if they are travelling from countries that have been hit by the Omicron variant, the centre stated in a statement. Separately, as vaccination of youngsters from 15 to 18 years of age has not started in some countries, the NCOC said mandatory full vaccination for inbound passengers between 15 to 18 years of age has been extended till January 31, 2022 instead of December 1, 2021.

Earlier, the NCOC had added eight more names to its Category C countries from where travellers are banned from entering Pakistan in wake of the threat of new COVID-19 Omicorn variant.

The new Category C countries included Croatia, Hungary, Netherlands, Ukraine, Ireland, Slovenia, Vietnam, Poland, South Africa, Mozambique, Lesotho, Eswatini, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Namibia. The health and testing protocols for inbound air travel from Category C countries include a complete ban on inbound travel from Category C countries.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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