RAWALPINDI: On Friday, the Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority (PCAA) extended travel restrictions until February 28 for category C countries, South Africa, the United Kingdom, Brazil, Ireland, Portugal and the Netherlands, while travellers from these countries can still travel to Pakistan if approved by the National Command and Operation Centre. The PCAA also reduced the PCR test requirement from 96 to 72 hours for the countries classified as B and C.
The Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) provided by the PCAA in December and January relating to travel were also extended until 28 February.
24 countries were placed in category-A and six in category-C by the Authority.
The PCAA said that before entering Pakistan, foreign travellers from category A countries did not need the Covid-19 PCR exam. Before travelling to Pakistan, travellers from Category B countries are expected to undergo the Covid-19 exam (maximum 72 hours old). However, travellers from countries in the C group are limited and permitted only in compliance with the guidance issued by the NCOC.
Following the growing number of cases reported there during the second wave of Covid-19, the limitations on travellers from C-category countries have been increased.
PIA plane brought back
On Friday, the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) flight, which had been detained in Malaysia two weeks earlier because of a British court case over a lease dispute, was returned to Islamabad. The aircraft was released and handed over on Wednesday to PIA.
On Friday afternoon, a PIA Boeing 777 with 173 passengers on board from Kuala Lumpur landed at the new Islamabad International Airport.
On Wednesday, PIA crew members left Karachi for Malaysia to carry the aircraft back and it was later run as a passenger flip. On January 15, following a local court order over a lease dispute with a leasing firm which had lodged a lawsuit with the Malaysian court, the aircraft was held back by Malaysian authorities.
Meanwhile, in November 2020, the national flag carrier enabled biometric attendance on TMS devices, which were suspended across the PIA network to deter the dissemination of Covid-19 and to shield workers from the potential risk of contamination.