Pakistan makes COVID-19 test mandatory for international travellers - GulfToday

Pakistan makes COVID-19 test mandatory for international travellers


The photo has been used for illustrative purposes.

All international travellers coming to Pakistan will be required to carry their negative coronavirus test results with them starting from Oct.5.

According to the government, travellers entering the country will have to share their contact information, undergo screening by a health official and provide a certificate of negative COVID-19 RT-PCR test at the airport. The coronavirus test will have to be conducted 96 hours prior to travelling.

The government has also introduced a Pass Track Application that all travellers will be required to install in their mobile phones. A health declaration form is also required to be filled 48 hours before arriving in the country.

Upon entering, the passengers will be asked if they have flu or cough. Those with coronavirus symptoms will have to isolate themselves for 14 days. Those without symptoms will be required to quarantine themselves at their homes for two weeks.


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People have been asked to avoid all kinds of non-essential travel. For any further queries, travellers can call the government health helpline at 1166 or visit Separately, the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) has advised Pakistan to undertake “immediate corrective actions” and suspend the issuance of any new pilot licences in the wake of a scandal over falsified licences, according to an official and a document seen by Reuters.

The recommendations from ICAO, a specialised agency of the United Nations that works to ensure safety in international air transport, come days after Pakistan opened a criminal probe into 50 pilots and five civil aviation officials who allegedly helped them falsify credentials to secure pilot licences.

“Pakistan should improve and strengthen its licencing system to ensure that it takes into account all necessary processes and procedures and prevents inconsistencies and malpractices before new licences are issued and privileges of suspended licences are re-established,” said ICAO, in a previously unreported letter to the Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority (PCAA) last week.

A Pakistani aviation ministry official told reporters that the country has not issued any new licences since July, in the wake of the scandal.

The Montreal-based agency’s recommendations come ahead of an ICAO audit to assess the country’s aviation safety management systems.

The ICAO audit, originally scheduled for November this year, has been moved to June, effectively giving the PCAA more time to work on reforms, the official said.

A PCAA spokesman did not respond to a request for comment.

An ICAO representative declined to comment on specific details, but said in an email that ICAO is “helping Pakistan to recognise concerns, and if they do not take swift action on them we will actively notify other countries about them.”

The pilot scandal has tainted Pakistan’s aviation industry and hurt flag carrier Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), which has been barred from flying into Europe and the United States.

In addition to revoking the licences of 50 pilots, Pakistan has also suspended another 32 pilots for a year.

Global airlines recently called for pre-departure COVID-19 testing for all international passengers to replace the quarantines they blame for exacerbating the travel slump.

Rapid and affordable antigen tests that can be administered by non-medical staff are expected to become available in “coming weeks” and should be rolled out under globally agreed standards, the head of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said during an online media briefing.

“We don’t see any alternative solution that would be less challenging or more effective,” IATA Director General Alexandre de Juniac said.

Airlines hammered by the pandemic are pressing governments to embrace alternatives to blanket travel restrictions that are still hampering a traffic recovery — and now tightening again in Europe amid resurgent case numbers.

With rapid antigen tests becoming available for as little as $7 each, De Juniac said, airlines will push for their use to be endorsed by International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), the UN agency that oversees global aviation rules.


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