Following the PM’s directive on bringing our stranded citizens back home along the earliest possible timeline; NCOC, in coordination with the provinces and health professionals, have reduced the quarantine period before testing for inbound air passengers from 48 hours to earliest possible. Passengers will be transported to quarantine centers and will stay there until the return of tests results, after which they may be quarantined or instructed to self-isolate at home according to the provincial health authorities’ directions.
This current strategy will allow us to raise our weekly cap for inbound passengers from 7,000-8,000 to 11,000-12,000 under the current policy.
SAPM Dr Moeed Yusuf said that we are working day night to resolve the problems of stranded Pakistanis as per the direction of the Prime Minister, while announcing the new policy in a press briefing today.
Inbound passengers will be allowed a preference between two modes of quarantine, free of cost government quarantine centers or paid government regulated hotels/facilities. Testing will be conducted as soon as possible after arrival at quarantine facility.
Passengers with negative Covid-19 results to be sent home with guidelines on home isolation for completion of 14-day period.
Passengers with positive Covid-19 results to be resolved as following:
Symptomatic patients will be treated as per prescribed health protocols. Asymptomatic patients from other provinces will be treated as per prescribed health protocols and to be kept in isolation/quarantine facilities until completion of 14 days. Positive cases will not be returned to home province until completion of quarantine period. Asymptomatic patients from host province will have home quarantine capability reviewed. If the provincial authorities deem home quarantine to be feasible, patient may be sent home with guidelines on home isolation for 14 days. Otherwise, patients will be treated as per prescribed health protocols and will be kept in isolation/quarantine facilities until completion of 14 days.
It is also important to note that with the increased number of inbound passengers and keeping in mind the local situation, while we will continue to use our best capabilities to test patients within 24 hours, and then release them after the return of test results, some delays will inevitably have to be catered for as quarantine and testing capacities come under stress.
Total number of passengers planned from 11th – 21st May is approximately 11,000, with stranded passengers being repatriated from at least 22 countries. Countries from which majority flights are incoming are as following: UAE, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, USA, Oman.
These policies have been implemented in coordination with provincial authorities, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Civil Aviation Authority and the Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis – looking at the complete data for inbound passengers, and we hope that it will allow us to return stranded Pakistanis back home without worsening the health situation in the country.
We have been able to repatriated about 23,000 Pakistanis so far, with a total of about 100,000 Pakistanis still registered as stranded across the globe.