Pakistan plans 270 flights in next five days for stranded expats
Special Assistant to the PM on National Security Moeed Yusuf on Thursday said 270 flights had been planned during the next five days [June 26 to 30] which would enable over 40,000 Pakistani expatriates to return from the Gulf States.
In a message released by the state-run TV, Moeed also claimed that the government would be able to ensure the return of all the stranded Pakistanis from the region in two to three weeks. All the international airlines had been allowed to resume their operations from Pakistan, he said.
He, however, noted that a 14-day quarantine would be mandatory for everyone returning back to the country. All the passengers are to be screened at airports before boarding international flights, said Moeed who added that Pakistan had the capability necessary for tracing/ tracking the coronavirus cases.
Moeed said that the reports of everyone leaving Pakistan being tested positive for the coronavirus in other countries were not true. There had been only some cases, he added.
The special assistant to the PM urged the people to avoid foreign travel in case of having symptoms and have a coronavirus test before leaving when necessary. It would become a diplomatic issue if people are tested positive in other countries.
The statement came as three UAE-based airlines – Emirates, Etihad Airways and flydubai – have suspended their operations from Pakistan after the arrival of people in the UAE with coronavirus in recent weeks.
The flydubai – a government-owned budget airline – decided to suspend its flight operation from Pakistan with effect immediately from June 25 (Thursday). However, sources say, the previously scheduled flights for Lahore, Multan, Islamabad and Karachi from Dubai would be operated Thursday.
Similarly, the Etihad Airways announced suspension of flight operation from Pakistan for an indefinite period. However, the flights from Abu Dhabi and cargo flights from both countries would be operated as per schedule.
Earlier on Tuesday, the Emirates had temporarily suspended passenger services from the country. In a press release, it said, “We regret to temporarily suspend passenger services from Pakistan, from 24 June 04:00 Pakistan LT, until early next week.”
“In the meantime, Emirates will continue to operate repatriation flights into Pakistan as per the announced schedule, and continue to operate cargo services that support the trade and movement of goods between Pakistan, UAE and our global network,” said the airline.
“We remain in contact with the relevant authorities on requirements to resume services for travellers, and look forward to operating our flights again soon. Affected customers will be contacted directly by our service team. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.”
Pakistan witnessed another 148 coronavirus-related deaths during the past 24 hours (Wednesday) after which the death toll in the country climbed to 3,903.
On the other hand, 4,044 people tested positive for the coronavirus during the same period. It means a total of 192,970 cases have so far been officially reported in the country.