NCOC circular: The NCOC has released a circular in the morning outlining major changes to Pakistan’s travel rules and restrictions. It has been formed keeping in mind global disease trends and local positivity rates. The most focal point of this circular is that inbound international flights will be reduced to 20% from May 5 to May 20.
Other protocols mentioned in the circular include mandatory negative PCR 72 hours before entering Pakistan, Rapid Antigen Testing on arrival, 10 day quarantine at home of negative tests overseen by authorities, and 10 day self-paid stay at government facilities in the case of a positive test.
Reasons: After the South African and Brazilian strains were seen to have reached Karachi yesterday, the same strains have also been sampled at NIH Islamabad today. These strains have a very high rate of infection and fatality and are less prone to vaccine effects. Hence it has become important for the government to put protocols in place for more strains like the new Indian ‘triple’ mutant to enter Pakistan amid an already dangerous third wave situation.
Local restrictions: This comes right after the NCOC announced 6 day Eid holidays amid stricter lockdowns and measures against public gatherings on the occasion of Eid Ul Fitr from May 8 to May 16.