National Command and Operation Centre
On Sunday, the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) banned all inbound travel from Category C nations after the emergence of Omicron variant cases.
Countries in Category C include Croatia, Netherlands, Ukraine, Ireland, Slovenia, Vietnam, Poland, South Africa, Mozambique, Lesotho, Eswatini, Botswana, Zimbabwe, and Namibia.
The Covid-19 monitoring body of Pakistan said ‘essential’ travel from the countries mentioned above would need an exemption certificate from the government’s special exemption committee with health protocols in place. As per the NCOC’s statement, the health protocols would require a passenger to be fully vaccinated, with a negative PCR test report (48 hours before departure).
The NCOC said the forum reviewed the global situation of the pandemic and revisited the policy for the categorisation of air travel.
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For countries in Category B, Azerbaijan, Mexico, Sri Lanka, Germany, Trinidad and Tobago, Russia, Thailand, France, the USA, the UK, Afghanistan, Austria, and Turkey, all inbound passengers needed to be fully vaccinated.
The NCOC said that for Category A countries, all passengers needed to be fully vaccinated with the exact PCR requirements as Cat C and B countries.
It merits mentioning that the NCOC has imposed a condition of rapid antigen tests on transit flights from UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar to stop the entry of the Omicron through indirect flights.
Furthermore, all Pakistanis travelling from Category C countries will have the above-mentioned testing protocols on arrival.
Similarly, Pakistanis who have already travelled to Category C countries on a short-term visa are permitted to come back regardless of the travel ban.
Pakistanis unable to get vaccinated abroad (all categories) due to any of the following reasons are exempted from the mandatory vaccination after producing valid proof to immigration authorities before boarding. The reasons may include:
- Expired Visa
- illegal immigrants/deported.
- Pending court cases.
- Medical conditions.
- Pregnant women.