The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has issued new travel instructions, directing airlines to not issue tickets to passengers presenting symptoms of the coronavirus.
The directions, which are to remain in effect till July 31, specify that if symptoms appear after a person has purchased the ticket then the person should not come to the airport.
The notification has included Covid-19 symptoms such as cold, cough, flu, fever, and difficulty in breathing, to screen passengers.
All passengers have also been directed to wear masks at the airport, use sanitisers, and maintain social distance.
The government announced on Thursday that passengers flying out of Pakistan would be screened for Covid-19 symptoms similar to the procedure followed for incoming ones after Emirates, Etihad Airways and Fly Dubai suspended their flights from the country when 26 Pakistanis travelling on a flight to Hong Kong tested positive for the disease.
In recent days, Japan and South Korea have restricted entry of passengers from Pakistan to their respective countries.
Japan has some 111 countries on its list of travel restrictions during the pandemic, while South Korea took this measure after it recorded an increase in coronavirus cases from Pakistan.
Emirates’ announcement came on Wednesday after 26 passengers travelling on a flight to Hong Kong tested positive for Covid-19.
According to Emirates, these passengers were from Pakistan and had transited through the Dubai airport before boarding another flight for Hong Kong.
Similarly, Etihad Airways and Fly Dubai also announced that they were suspending flights from Pakistan.
At a news conference on June 25, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on National Security Dr Moeed Yusuf said outgoing passengers would also be screened from June 27.
“They [outbound passengers] won’t be tested for coronavirus, but their temperature and symptoms will be checked,” he explained.
The SAPM asked passengers – especially ones who had already booked their tickets – to reach the airport only if they were “completely fit”. “Those who have symptoms or have been in contact with a Covid-19 patient should not come to the airport,” he added.
He also requested them to read the policy of the country they intend to travel to and ensure they fulfill all conditions.
The PM’s aide pointed out that many countries had made it mandatory for passengers to quarantine themselves for 14 days while some had even made a pre-arrival Covid-19 test compulsory.
“Please follow the policies of the countries you are travelling to. If you test positive in another country, it will be a diplomatic issue for Pakistan.”
Yusuf also refuted reports that most Pakistanis who were travelling abroad were testing positive for Covid-19 in other countries. “Not everyone who has traveled abroad from Pakistan has tested positive,” he added.
On the passengers who had been diagnosed with Covid-19 in Hong Kong, the PM’s aide said the government was aware of the issue and looking into the matter as a responsible state. “The government will address these concerns,” he added.
The SAPM further said all airlines had been allowed to enter Pakistan and 270 flights were expected to land in the country from June 26 to 30.