Special Assistant to Prime Minister on National Security Moeed Yusuf acknowledged on Thursday that the government is looking into the concerns expressed by countries regarding some Pakistani passengers testing positive for coronavirus.
The response from the Pakistani government came after the Hong Kong Health Department reported that the virus has been detected in 30 Pakistanis who arrived in the region earlier this week via Emirates airline.
“There have been some concerns about passengers who travelled from Pakistan in the last few days and tested positive for COVID-19 when they go to another country," said Yusuf while briefing the media on Thursday.
"Pakistan as a responsible and mature state is looking into this issue," said SAPM Yusuf, adding, “the country would take all the necessary steps in this regard.”
He reminded everyone that Pakistan itself had faced a lot of difficulties when the people were coming back to the country in the last three months.
"The example is in front of you that with all the difficulties we carried out testing and quarantined them [passengers]," said SAPM Yusuf. He added that the officials were "aware of the situation" and "monitoring" it.
The SAPM clarified that because of this situation the government from June 27 will start the screening process of "outbound passengers" as well. He added that complete strict screenings will be done but clarified that tests of the passengers will not be done and only fever and other symptoms will be checked.
SAPM Yusuf also told the media that such a decision was not taken by the government "out of pressure". He added that such a policy and plan was there for a long time and its implementation was decided already.
Passengers should fulfil policy requirements
The SAPM in the press conference also urged the outbound passengers that they should look at the policy regarding travel conditions before boarding the plane.
Yusuf told the reporters that some western and other countries due to a decrease in the spread of pandemic have put certain restrictions on the passengers.
“If you are positive then it would become a diplomatic issue for Pakistan.”
Policy for outbound passengers
The SAPM, while unveiling the outbound policy of the passengers, said that they will go through the same screening as those coming to the country.
"Any passenger suspected of coronavirus will not be allowed to board the plane," said Yusuf. He requested all the passengers who have booked their tickets and are showing any symptoms or been around a corona patient to not head to the airport and get themselves tested.
"Our health professionals have been authorised to advise people from not entering the plane if they feel that the passenger is not well," said SAPM Yusuf.