Pakistan reduces PCR test validity for travellers from UAE, other countries

The new rule will come into effect from tomorrow, February 1.

Pakistan has reduced the validity requirement of negative Covid-19 PCR test results from 96 hours to 72 hours for passengers travelling from the UAE and other countries.

Shahid Mughal, regional manager for the UAE at Pakistan International Airline (PIA), said the new rule would come into effect from Monday, February 1, 2021.

“The timing for the Covid-19 PCR test starts when the passenger gives a swab test at the medical facility. Earlier, it was 96 hours. It has been reduced to 72 hours for Pakistan-bound passengers from the UAE and other countries from tomorrow (Monday, February 1, 2021),” Mughal told Khaleej Times on Sunday.

Last week, Dubai also required air travellers to present a negative PCR test result within 72 hours of its taking, starting January 31, 2021.

In addition, Mughal said Pakistan’s national carrier will also be starting Sharjah-Turbat flights from February 4, 2021.

Sharjah-based Air Arabia has sent out a notice to travel agents about the change in policy for Covid-19 test validity for Pakistan-bound passengers as well.

“Effective February 1, 2021, all passengers travelling to Pakistan should present negative PCR Covid-19 test results valid 72 hours,” the airline said in an update sent to its partners.

Abbas Raza Dar, senior manager for UAE at Airblue, also confirmed to Khaleej Times that passengers bound to Pakistan will have to carry a negative Covid-19 PCR test with a validity of 72 hours, unlike the previous mandate of 96 hours.

Quoting Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority, Dawn newspaper earlier reported that Pakistan had extended travel restrictions on six countries — including South Africa, the UK, Brazil, Ireland, Portugal and the Netherlands until February 28, 2021.

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