ISLAMABAD: Pakistan's civil aviation authority on Friday banned air travel by unvaccinated passengers, as the country tries to make a stronger push for vaccinations and avoid stringent lockdowns in the future, media reports said.
Adhering to National Command and Operation Centre's (NCOC) directive, Pakistan's Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), in a notification, said that from October 1, only fully vaccinated passengers aged 18 and above will be allowed to undertake air travel, to, from and within Pakistan, provided they furnish proof of certification against the COVID-19, a Geo News report said.
On Thursday, Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan announced the ban with this tweet: "Only fully vaccinated passengers of age 18 years and above will be allowed to undertake domestic air travel within Pakistan."
There is a catch though.
Passengers below 18 years may be allowed to travel to Pakistan without a vaccination certificate, while passengers between 15 and 18 years will be allowed to travel inbound to the country without a vaccination certificate up to October 31, the report stated.
Similarly, patients who have been advised against administering the vaccine will be allowed to travel, provided they have a certificate from the doctor.
Passengers holding foreign passports and travelling outbound from Pakistan have been exempted from this ban.
Passengers who have travelled to Pakistan before October 1, will also be allowed to travel outbound without a certificate, according to a Geo TV report.
Earlier this week, unvaccinated people were barred from restaurants, marriage halls and shopping malls, as per the NCOC diktat.
To date, only a shade above 13 per cent of the 220 million people in Pakistan has been fully vaccinated. The slow and arduous campaign is not due to vaccine shortage, but because of people's hesitance towards getting the jab. According to data shared by the NCOC, Pakistan has witnessed 1,742 new cases of COVID-19 and 39 deaths were reported in the last 24 hours, with 47,832 active cases.
Pakistan has reported 1.2 million COVID-19 cases and 27,785 deaths since the pandemic began last year.