The Government relaxed restrictions on operating international flights from five country airports days after the National Security Committee (NSC) restricted these operations to three county airports as part of the country’s sweeping steps to curb coronavirus spread.
As agreed on March 13 by the country’s top civil and military leadership, only three airports – Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad international flights were functional.
“However, the decision has been reviewed and from March 21, all airports other than Gwadar and Turbat will resume such operations,” Federal Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar said at a news conference in Islamabad on Tuesday he was accompanied by PM’s Special Assistant on Information Firdous Ashiq Awan, CII Chairman Qibla Ayaz and Religious Affairs Minister Noorul Haq Qadri.
The press conference was arranged to update the media on decisions taken during the federal cabinet meeting, which was chaired yesterday by Prime Minister Imran Khan.
Of the 236 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Pakistan, Sindh has 172 cases while Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa has 15 cases, Balochistan 16 cases, Islamabad four cases, Gilgit-Baltistan three cases and Punjab 26 cases.
Sarwar said all international flights on arrival and departure from all of the country’s airports would be desinfected for any viruses. For now on, he said, all passengers would have to go through COVID-19 checks to carry out air travel.
The minister for aviation further added that starting today, domestic passengers would also be tested for coronavirus.
The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and all other related departments have put forward these recommendations, he said.