The United Arab Emirates’ General Civil Aviation Authority (GCCA) announced plans on Sunday to temporarily suspend flights from Pakistan, effective through to next Monday.
According to Gulf News, the ban will stand until a laboratory is set up at UAE airports to provide onsite COVID-19 testing.
The announcement follows a surge in COVID-19 cases in the south Asian nation – and while it also comes after a parliamentary admission that nearly 30 per cent of active pilots in the country are under investigation, the GCCA did not link the ban to this development or a recent Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) crash.
However on 23 June, 26 passengers aboard an Emirates flight to Hong Kong tested positive for COVID-19. All travellers identified as carrying the virus had connected from Pakistan.
As travel restrictions begin to ease worldwide, government responses to onboard transmission have been mixed. In recent weeks, a Qatar Airways flight from Doha to Athens made headlines after 12 passengers onboard tested positive for COVID-19 – sparking a temporary ban against Qatari airlines from the Greek government.
Dubai plans to reopen its borders to international visitors from most other countries beginning on 7 July, though entry will be dependent upon:
- Downloading the COVID-19 DXB app;
- Valid health insurance;
- Filling out a health declaration form; and
- Conducting a PCR test within 96 hours of departure.
While the GCCA insists that the ban is effective immediately, Flightradar24 data indicates that several scheduled flights from Pakistani cities appear to be proceeding.