Pakistan allows airlines to increase number of flights to 5 destinations

Islamabad: The National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC), in view of a significant drop in daily cases of COVID-19 as well as deaths in Pakistan, has granted permission to the country’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to increase the number of flights for five destinations up to 40 per cent.

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Following the nod of the NCOC, the CAA’s air transport department through a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) has allowed the airlines to increase flights up to 40 per cent to five destinations: Canada, Europe, United Kingdom (UK), China and Malaysia.

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901 cases in 24 hours

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Pakistan reported on Sunday 901 cases of COVID-19 after 44,544 tests conducted during the last 24 hours. It was the second consecutive day when the country’s single day tally was less than 1,000. On Saturday 935 new cases were reported after 46,842 tests.

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According to the statistics issued by the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC), the country’s COVID-19 positivity rate was recorded at 2.02 per cent on Sunday while a day earlier it was 1.99 per cent.

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Besides, 23 deaths were reported in the last 24 hours and the active cases also declined from 32,710 on June 26 to 32,241 on June 27.

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The total number of coronavirus cases in Pakistan, since the pandemic broke out, stands at 954,743 while the number of active cases in the country has increased to 32,341.

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Mandatory PCR test for inbound passengers

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However, inbound passengers will have to undergo mandatory COVID-19 PCR test prior to departing from these countries.

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On June 22, the aviation authority had decided to increase the time period between domestic flights to reduce the influx of passengers in the departure lounges at airports.

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The NCOC took the measure after it observed serious violations in the implementation of COVID-19 related standard operating procedures (SOPs) at the country’s airports. The centre had directed the aviation authority to immediately address the issue.

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The CAA therefore was directed not to operate more than two flights at one time and asked to allow the operation of four to five flights in two hours.

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The Airports Security Force (ASF) and airport managers (APMs) have also been asked to make sure there was only one person in the concourse hall to receive passengers and no violation of COVID-19 SOPs was committed.

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Minister warns of 4th wave

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Minister for Planning, Development & Special Initiative Asad Umar a day earlier, warned there could be a fourth wave of COVID-19 in the next month and the only way to protect oneself is to strictly adhere to the COVID-19 SOPs.

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In a message on Twitter, the minister said, after reviewing the artificial intelligence based disease modelling analysis it was observed in a meeting of the NCOC that “in the absence of strong SOP enforcement and continued strong vaccination programme, the 4th wave could emerge in Pakistan in July.” He appealed to the masses to adhere to SOPs and get vaccinated as soon as possible.

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