News Alerts

18 Apr 2020 | 03:51 PM UTC

Pakistan: Authorities announce flight ban extension through April 30 /update 19

Pakistan News Alert

Pakistani authorities extend ban on domestic and international flights through April 30 due to COVID-19; confirm travel itineraries

TIMEFRAME expected from 4/18/2020, 12:00 AM until 5/15/2020, 11:59 PM (Asia/Karachi). COUNTRY/REGION Pakistan

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Event

On Saturday, April 18, the Pakistani government announced that the ban on domestic and international flights, which was originally extended through Tuesday, April 21, will continue until Thursday, April 30, due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Pakistan's Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has allowed private airlines to carry out domestic operations "subject to compliance with relevant Standard Operating Procedures." These airlines will reportedly operate between Islamabad, Karachi, and Lahore.

On Tuesday, April 14, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan announced a 14-day extension to the ongoing nationwide lockdown until Thursday, April 30. Khan also stated that the government would allow for a phased reopening of "low-risk" industries over the near term, including construction, agriculture, and e-commerce. Trade associations from the provinces of Sindh, Balochistan, and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have expressed opposition to Khan's decision, vowing to resume operations from Wednesday, April 15.

Pakistan's Interior Ministry announced on Monday, April 13, that all land borders will remain closed for an additional two weeks to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the country. Separately, Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed stated that all train services would continue to be suspended until Friday, April 24.

The army has been deployed to enforce lockdown measures after all provincial governments ordered a complete or partial lockdown to curb the spread of the virus. All restaurants and shopping malls remain closed across the country, while public transportation is suspended; however, Pakistani citizens and residents may reportedly leave their homes to buy groceries and medicine and to visit health facilities.

As of Saturday, April 18, there are 7481 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 143 related death nationwide. Further international spread of the virus is to be expected in the near term.

Context

The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.

Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.

Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.

Advice

Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.

To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:

  • Frequently clean hands by using alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
  • When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
  • If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease. 

 

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