Pakistan to test passengers from Gulf countries amid threat of omicron sub-variant spread

11:05 AM | 14 May, 2022
Pakistan to test passengers from Gulf countries amid threat of omicron sub-variant spread
Source: File Photo

ISLAMABAD – Pakistan has restarted screening of passengers arriving from Gulf countries at airports after it detected first case of new omicron sub-variant that has triggered Covid-19 spread in multiple countries. 

On May 9, the National Institute of Health (NIH) detected the first case of Omicron sub-variant BA.2.12.1, which was first reported in South Africa in 2021. 

“This new sub-variant is causing increasing number of cases in different countries. The best preventive measure (besides mask-wearing at crowded places) is COVID-19 vaccination. We strongly recommended getting vaccinated and all those due for boosters must get the shots immediately,” NIH had said in a statement on Twitter.

Health Minister Abdul Qadir Patel directed the NIH to randomly test passengers arriving from the Gulf countries for the new omicron sub-variant. 

"Keeping a close check for surveillance and monitoring at points of entry, RAT (Rapid Antigen Test) testing to be conducted at each major airport i.e. Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi for all inbound flights from Gulf countries and Saudi Arabia," read the statement. 

It added that 10-15 passengers arriving through small aircraft with a capacity of up to 150 passengers will undergo the test. Similarly, 15-20 passengers will be tested for the infection in case of large passenger plane with a capacity of 250 or more poeple. 

"The revised protocol stands in place with effect from 00.01 hrs 14th May, 2022 till further orders and reviewed by the Centre for Disease Control (CDC)," NIH announced.

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