Photo used for illustrative purpose.
Tariq Butt, Correspondent
Islamabad on Thursday decided to curtail inbound flights to Pakistan from May 5 to May 20 amid the worsening coronavirus situation. Meanwhile, the vaccination of people of 40-49 age group will be started from May 3.
The National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) in its meeting chaired by Minister for Development and Planning Asad Umar decided to review the COVID-19 restrictions on May 18.
A statement issued after the meeting said detailed instructions regarding the reduction in flights would be provided by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).
The NCOC also reviewed the production and supply of oxygen, granting permission to import 6,000 metric tonnes of oxygen and 5,000 oxygen cylinders to shore up healthcare facilities in the country.
The NCOC meeting also decided to start a vaccination drive of 40-46 years old from May 3. Currently, people of 50 and above age group can get COVID-19 jabs with a walk-in facility at any vaccine center across the country. The NCOC meeting also approved the import of oxygen and oxygen cylinders.
Besides, the NCOC allowed the import of 20 cryogenic tanks and decided to shut down the scrap industry of Misri Shah Lahore so oxygen could be diverted to the healthcare sector instead.
The NCOC also announced a "Stay Home, Stay Safe" strategy from May 8 to May 16, aimed at controlling the movement of people, including during the Eid Al Fitr holidays.
According to the NCOC: Eid holidays will be from May 10 to May 15; comprehensive standard operating procedures (SOPs) will be issued for Youm-e-Ali, Aitekaf, Shab-e-Qadar, Juma-tul-Wida, and Eid prayers by May 1; all markets, businesses, and shops will remain closed except for essential services; Chaand Raat bazaars will be banned; there will be a complete ban on tourism and routes leading to tourist destinations will be closed; inter-provincial, inter-city, and intra-city public transport will be banned; private vehicles to operate with 50 per cent capacity; and media channels will broadcast special Eid Holiday packages.
Last week, Pakistan introduced a stricter travel ban on 23 countries and extended travel restrictions till April 30.
A fresh notification issued by the CAA containing the list of countries categorised as A, B and C was shared by the regulator with 20 countries placed in category A. It also increased the number of countries in category C to 23 with India added to the list.
"It is not just a mission that brought back stranded and distressed citizens from around the world, but Vande Bharat has been a mission of hope and happiness, of letting people know that they will not be left behind even in the most testing times," Puri said.
Passengers under category A will not need a negative COVID-19 test, while those in category B will be required to undergo coronavirus screening 96 hours prior to boarding a flight to Pakistan.
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