Tuesday, January 19, 2021

CAA gives strict directives to implement SOPs in airports across Pakistan

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Ease in travel restrictions has not taken away from the fact that the Covid-19 pandemic remains prevalent across the globe. Pakistan’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has given directives to the airport staff and managers in Pakistan to put in place strict Covid-19 Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) in airports to avoid the novel virus from spreading further.

The implementation of SOPs are being monitored by the airport managers, sources at the Karachi airport told Propakistani. Any passengers seen violating the strict SOPs are being denied entry into the airports’ premises across Pakistan. It has been reported that numerous such incidents have occurred recently. 
“No one, whether passengers or airport staff, is allowed to enter the airports’ premises without a face mask,” revealed sources.
Strict measures will be taken against all the airlines’ staff members for non-compliance of SOPs. They are directed to by the Civil Aviation Authority to wear face masks at all times, maintain social distance and avoid physical contact such as handshakes. 
Talking to a media outlet, Jinnah International Airport’s manager, Imran Khan, informed that the airport is following strict SOPs and is not allowing passengers to enter the airport’s premises if they are seen without face masks, adding that many passengers have been stopped for this very reason. He stated, “They were stopped at entry points and were provided with masks.” Noncompliance with the SOPs would also result in the airport staff being fined. 
The second wave of Covid-19 has hit the country hard. The Civil Aviation Authority has put in laudable efforts to curb it. In doing so, on 5th January, it issued its updated notification on Covid-19 advisory. CAA announced a list of countries that would be exempt from taking a Covid-19 test before entering Pakistan. The list issued by the CAA entails three categories, namely A, B, and C.

According to the issued notification, these new instructions apply to all scheduled and chartered airline operators, ground handling agents, private and authorized flight agents.

Category A comprises 23 countries that will not be required to get tested for Covid-19 before entering Pakistan. Countries like Australia, Cote d’ Ivoire, China, Fiji, Finland, Ghana, Iceland, Iraq, Madagascar, Maldives, Myanmar, New Zealand, Qatar, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Togo, Vietnam, and Zambia have been included in category A.

Read more: Pakistan, India suspend flights from UK amid new COVID-19 strain

The remaining countries, ones that are not in category A naturally fall into category B. Passengers from these countries are required to get the test done within the last 96 hours before coming to Pakistan.

“International travelers from countries not specified in category A, require Covid-19 PCR test before commencement of travel to Pakistan (max 96 hours old),” the notification read.

While there are currently no countries in category C, however, if in case a country is included in the category, passengers would have to get a Covid-19 test done before entering and after landing in Pakistan respectively.

Read more: First cases of the new UK Covid-19 variant confirmed in Pakistan

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