Islamabad, June 22 (IANS) Pakistan has partially resumed international flights y to bring back more citizens stranded in other countries due to the COVID-19 pandemic, over three months after they were suspended as part of the countrys efforts to stem the spread of the virus.
The country had closed its airspace for international flights on March 21 for two weeks and then extended the suspension several times as the COVID-19 situation grew worse in the country, reports The Express Tribune.
On Sunday, the government has reopened 25 per cent of the country’s airspace so that the citizens stuck abroad could return.
Prime Minister Imran Khan has vowed that the government would take every possible measure to facilitate the citizens returning to the country after losing their overseas employment because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Overseas workers have suffered the most in this pandemic but have shown great courage and made us proud,” he tweetd on Sunday.
Speaking to a private TV channel, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development Zulfikar Abbas Bukhari said the initiative to partially reopen the airspace was taken on the instructions of Khan as the government was concerned about the large number of Pakistani labourers stuck abroad, particularly in Gulf countries.
The federal government had unveiled a new policy on June 16 under which it announced its decision to reopen 25 per cent of its airspace after June 20.
Under the policy, around 40,000 to 45,000 Pakistanis will return to the country every week and all stranded citizens will be home in a month, said The Express Tribune report.
Only symptomatic passengers will be tested and if found they positive, they will be quarantined at the facilities provided by the government.
However, it will be mandatory for every passenger to quarantine themselves for 14 days at home and they will have to submit this in writing at the airport.
Around 70 per cent of the flights have been dedicated for Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar, Kuwait and Malaysia where Pakistani labourers were stranded.