Pakistan bans travel from India for two weeks amid record spike in COVID-19 cases
Islamabad, Apr 19: Pakistan on Monday decided to ban for two weeks travellers coming from India due to a record surge in the number of COVID-19 cases in the country.
India's total tally of COVID-19 cases crossed the 1.50-crore mark with around 25 lakh cases being added in just 15 days, while active cases surpassed the 19-lakh mark, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Monday.
The nationwide tally of COVID-19 cases mounted to 1,50,61,919 with a record single-day rise of 2,73,810 coronavirus infections. The death toll increased to 1,78,769 with a record 1,619 daily new fatalities, the data updated this morning showed.
Pakistan's National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) took the decision to impose a two-week ban on travel from India in a meeting chaired by its chief Asad Umar who is also the Minister for Planning and Development, according to a statement.
'The forum decided to place India in the list of Category C countries for two weeks. There will be a ban on inbound passengers coming from India via air and land routes,' the statement read.
Other countries already listed in the Category C include South Africa, Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Comoros, Mozambique, Zambia, Tanzania, Rwanda, Brazil, Peru, Colombia, Chile, Eswatini, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Malawi, Seychelles, Somalia, Suriname, Uruguay and Venezuela.
Last week, some 815 Sikhs pilgrims reached Lahore from India to attend the Baisakhi festival. They are permitted to stay for 10 days.
Earlier, the NCOC meeting was briefed about the new Indian variant of the coronavirus, known as a double-mutant variant, which has reportedly resulted in a spike in the number of infections in India.
The NCOC also announced to further review the Category C on April 21 to add any new country or remove any existing from the list, the statement said.
Already, another 20 countries are in Category A and travellers from there do not require a COVID-19 test before entry into Pakistan.
These are Australia, Bhutan, China, Fiji, Japan, Kazakhstan, Laos, Mongolia, Mauritania, Morocco, Myanmar, Nepal, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, Trinidad & Tobago and Vietnam.
Those not listed in A and C are deemed in Category B and people coming from these countries require a COVID-19 PCR test (maximum 72 hours old) before starting their travel to Pakistan.
Pakistan's coronavirus tally reached 761,437 after 5,152 news cases were detected on Monday. The death toll reached 16,316 as 73 more people died in this period, according to the Ministry of National Health Services.