Covid-19: Pakistan tightens airport screening to prevent entry of new variants

Staff have been advised to maintain heightened level of awareness for the rapid identification, detection, and isolation of any potential cases to prevent further transmission



FILE. People gather to receive arriving passengers at the international arrival area of the Islamabad International Airport in Islamabad on February 3, 2020. Photo: AFP
FILE. People gather to receive arriving passengers at the international arrival area of the Islamabad International Airport in Islamabad on February 3, 2020. Photo: AFP

By Agencies

Published: Thu 29 Dec 2022, 10:44 PM

Last updated: Fri 30 Dec 2022, 7:11 AM

Amid a recent global resurgence in Covid-19 cases, authorities in Pakistan have chalked out a strategy to prevent the entry of virus with travellers coming from the virus hotspots.

The Border Health Services (BHS) on Thursday directed airport authorities to tighten Covid-19 screening for all incoming international travellers following a surge in cases, especially in China.

An advisory also binds the Airport Health Services to screen — using Antigen Rapid Test— every unwell traveller at the airports.

According to a notification, the BHS staff have been advised to maintain a heightened level of awareness for the rapid identification, detection, and isolation of any potential cases to prevent further transmission.

A random sampling of all inbound passengers on international flights (2 per cent) has been advised as part of the national response against Covid-19 at the points of entry, Geo News reported.

Meanwhile, the Sindh provincial government on Thursday recommended to the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) and the National Institute of Health (NIH) to test travellers coming from China for Covid-19 at airports across the country.

In a letter, the Sindh Health Department pointed out that Covid cases and mortalities were resurging in global proximities, while a new variant had also emerged, Dawn News said in a report.

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It presented some recommendations and requested the NCOC to issue an advisory for people. “All the inbound passengers on flights from China be tested for Covid-19 at airports. In case of positive results, the person shall be quarantined until they become negative for contagion,” the provincial government suggested, adding that serology tests of confirmed positive cases should be carried out.

“A huge number of false negative cases of new Covid-19 variant are also being reported so any person showing symptoms similar to the virus should be isolated and tested on PCR for confirmation.”

The health department advised mandatory administration of Pfizer booster doses for people who got inoculated six months ago, especially those above the age of 65.


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