RAWALPINDI: The Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority (PCAA) on Friday extended travel restrictions on category-C countries — South Africa, the United Kingdom, Brazil, Ireland, Portugal and the Netherlands — till February 28, though travellers from these countries can still come to Pakistan if allowed by the National Command and Operation Centre. The PCAA also reduced the PCR test requirement for the countries categorised as B and C from 96 to 72 hours.
The travel-related standard operating procedures (SOPs) issued by the PCAA in December and January have also been extended till Feb 28.
The authority has placed 24 countries in category-A and six in category-C.
The PCAA said the international travellers from the countries placed in category-A did not require Covid-19 PCR test before entry into Pakistan. The travellers from category-B countries are required to undergo Covid-19 test before commencement of travel to Pakistan (maximum 72 hours old). However, the travellers from C-category countries are restricted and only allowed as per the guidelines provided by the NCOC.
The restrictions on travellers from C-category countries have been extended following the increasing number of cases reported there during the second wave of Covid-19.
PIA plane brought back
The Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) plane, which had been held back in Malaysia two weeks ago due to a British court case over a lease dispute, was brought back to Islamabad on Friday. The plane was released and handed over to PIA on Wednesday.
The PIA’s Boeing 777 with 173 passengers on board from Kuala Lumpur landed at new Islamabad International Airport on Friday afternoon.
PIA crew members had left Karachi for Malaysia on Wednesday to bring back the plane and later it was operated as a passenger flight. The aircraft was held back by Malaysian authorities on Jan 15 following a local court order over a lease dispute with a leasing company which had filed a complaint in the Malaysian court.
Meanwhile, the national flag carrier has activated biometric attendance on TMS machines, which was suspended across the PIA network in November 2020 to prevent the spread of Covid-19 and protect the employees from possible risk of infections.
Published in Dawn, January 30th, 2021
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