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The Centre for Disease Control (CDC) National Institute of Health has directed the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to start Covid screening tests for inbound flights from Gulf countries and Saudi Arabia after Pakistan reported the first case of the new sub-variant of Omicron.

“In lieu of reporting the first case of Omicron sub-variant and as per directives of the Minister for Health, keeping a close check for surveillance and monitoring at points of entry, Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) testing to be conducted at each major airport — Islamabad, Lahore, and Karachi,” a notification issued by the NIH said on Friday.

The screening process will come into effect from May 14.

Initially, 10 to 15 tests will be conducted for passengers travelling via small aircraft, carrying up to 150 people. Meanwhile, 15 to 20 tests would be conducted for passengers who arrive through flights with a capacity of 250.

The CDC said that these measures are being implemented on the directives of the health minister, and will remain in effect until further notice.

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