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Omicron: Pakistan to conduct rapid antigen test for flights from Gulf countries

13 May, 2022
<p>Health official collect swab samples from people to test for the coronavirus in Karachi on September 14, 2020. Photo: AFP</p>

Health official collect swab samples from people to test for the coronavirus in Karachi on September 14, 2020. Photo: AFP

KARACHI: Following the detection of a new sub-variant of Omicron, the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) of the National Institute of Health has directed the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to start Covid screening tests for inbound flights from Gulf countries and Saudi Arabia.

“In lieu of reporting the first case of Omicron sub-variant and as per directives of the Minister for Health, keeping a close check for surveillance and monitoring at points of entry, Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) testing to be conducted at each major airport — Islamabad, Lahore, and Karachi,” the NIH stated in a notification on Friday.

The screening process will come into effect from May 14.

Initially, 10 to 15 tests will be conducted for passengers travelling via small aircraft, carrying up to 150 people.

Meanwhile, 15 to 20 tests would be conducted for passengers who arrive through flights with a capacity of 250.

The CDC said that these measures are being implemented on the directives of the health minister, and will remain in effect until further notice.