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July 5, 2020

Travel tests

Newspost

 
July 5, 2020

It is a matter of great concern that 30 passengers from Pakistan tested positive for the coronavirus at Heathrow Airport, London. Restrictions have already been imposed on PIA flights by different countries on the issue of 'fake licences' issued to pilots declared by the minister of civil aviation a few days ago. Departing travellers will need some sort of certification of a negative test, carried out by a laboratory with official approval. Leaving intending travellers to get the test done themselves is for the government to attempt to wriggle out of responsibility. Before the pressure comes from countries of destination, asking Pakistan to ensure that people departing from its shores are coronavirus-free, the government must take appropriate measures.

A logical first step would be to ask the airlines what steps would meet their requirements. This would ensure that not only are destination requirements met, but also those of transit countries. It should be noted that the present problem includes Pakistani passengers being banned from the transit point of Dubai. It seems that the government's concentration on reopening air travel is going to be stopped in its tracks, because the rest of the world does not share the government’s free-enterprise attitude towards public health.

Azfar Siddiqui

Karachi