The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has expressed “grave concern” that passengers arriving in Pakistan, especially from Gulf states, have tested positive for the coronavirus despite having negative PCR test results.
“Upon conducting an investigation into the issue, it has been found that passengers travelled to Pakistan using fake PCR negative test results and endangered not only passengers travelling with them, but also undermined the intense efforts being made at the national level to curb the spread of Covid-19,” the CAA said in a notification dated May 10.
“The onus of contributing towards this national cause does not fall on the authority alone but is a responsibility that has to be shared by all concerned stakeholders including airline operators,” it said.
Both airlines flying to and from Pakistan have been ordered to ensure that all passengers arriving in the country have test reports from government-approved laboratories, with no test results allowed without a valid QR code.
“Only original reports are accepted prior to checking in passengers for flights and no copies are accepted. Passengers not registered through the Pass Track App are not accepted for travel to Pakistan,” the CAA directed airlines.
The federal government changed the inbound air transport guidelines earlier this week, exempting airline crews on two-way flights — who do not leave the airport — from undergoing an RT PCR exam until flying to Pakistan.
Local airlines’ employees on two-way foreign planes, on the other hand, would have to be checked before traveling to Pakistan.
According to the revised policy: “Airline staff of local carriers, employed on two-way flights with no exit from airport, are exempted from RT PCR test before travel to Pakistan. However, airline staff exiting airports abroad require a negative RT PCR test before travel to Pakistan.”
Passengers arriving in Pakistan from any natcion must show a negative RT-PCR test report obtained 72 hours prior to departure. Travel from category C countries is prohibited, with the exception of countries granted an exemption by the NCOC exception committee.