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Web Desk
May 18, 2021

28 passengers returning from Gulf country test positive in Pakistan at airport

Web Desk
Tue, May 18, 2021
Peshawar's Bacha Khan Airport. File photo

PESHAWAR: Twenty-eight passengers arriving from a Gulf state tested positive for coronavirus on Tuesday at the Bacha Khan International Aiport, according to a report on Geo News. 

The development comes a day after the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) revoked the license of a private airline for violating coronavirus SOPs set by the government. 

The airline had flown in 24 passengers, who had tested positive for coronavirus, from Dubai to Peshawar earlier. 

Bacha Khan International Airport's Chief Operating Officer (COO) Obaid-ur-Rehman Abbasi said rapid antigen tests were conducted on 130 passengers who arrived at the airport from Bahrain.

"The passengers who tested positive for the virus have been handed over to the district administration," he said, adding that various areas of the airport had also been disinfected after the development.

Private airline's permission  revoked

Despite warnings, 27 positive cases were brought to Peshawar from Sharjah again on May 16, the CAA spokesperson Saad bin Ayub had said about the airline whose permission had been revoked by the authority.

He had said the airline was ignoring coronavirus standard operating procedures (SOPs) despite warnings.

Last week, Pakistan had allowed airlines to operate additional 30% of flights in a revised policy.

According to a notification issued in this regard, additional flights were allowed to ensure passengers were able to travel abroad without any hindrances, while only cargo flights of foreign airlines were allowed to return to Pakistan.

This is in addition to the 20% of flights that were already allowed by the CAA to operate in Pakistan, the notification had stated.

As per the directives issued earlier by the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC), the number of foreign flights operating to Pakistan was reduced to 20%, keeping in mind the prevalent coronavirus situation in the country and the region. 

CAA takes notice of passengers with 'fake' PCR tests from Gulf countries

A week earlier, the CAA had noted "with grave concern" that passengers arriving in Pakistan from mostly Gulf countries, were testing positive for coronavirus despite possessing a negative PCR test result.

"Upon conducting an investigation into the issue, it has been found that passengers travelled to Pakistan using fake PCR negative test results and endangered not only passengers travelling with them, but also undermined the intense efforts being made at the national level to curb the spread of Covid-19," said the authority, in a notification that was released on May 10.

"The onus of contributing towards this national cause does not fall on the authority alone but is a responsibility that has to be shared by all concerned stakeholders including airline operators," it added.

The authority called upon airlines to verify PCR tests, adding that only those from government-approved laboratories should be deemed authentic.

"Only original reports are accepted prior to checking in passengers for flights and no copies are accepted. Passengers not registered through the Pass Track App are not accepted for travel to Pakistan," read the notification.