Pakistan extends coronavirus travel restrictions on inbound UK travellers

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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority said on Monday it would extend until January 4 a temporary restriction on inbound travellers from the United Kingdom.  A slew of countries closed their borders to Britain last week over fears of a highly infectious new coronavirus strain that has heightened global panic and caused travel chaos.

Pakistan, India, Poland, Spain, Switzerland, Russia, Jordan and Hong Kong suspended travel for Britons after Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned that a mutated variant of the virus, up to 70% more transmissible, had been identified in the country. Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Oman also closed their borders completely.

Several other nations have suspended travel from Britain including France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Austria, Ireland, Belgium, Israel and Canada — although scientists said the strain may already be circulating in countries with less advanced detection methods than the United Kingdom.

Previously, the CAA had announced that the ban would remain in effect till December 29, 2020. “This restriction will be applicable to all persons who originate travel from the UK and are in or have been in UK over the past 10 days,” the Pakistani aviation division said last week. “Transit passengers (who do not leave airside in UK) from destinations other than UK will be allowed to travel into Pakistan.”

The circular said Pakistani passport holders who had travelled to the UK on visitor or temporary visas would be allowed to return to Pakistan if they had a negative coronavirus test conducted within 72 hours prior of their flight and would be required to take another test upon arrival in Pakistan. “Passenger will be required to stay in the airport or in government facility until PCR test is taken,” the circular added, prescribing mandatory enforced home quarantine for seven days.