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UAE’s Emirates airline has resumed passenger services to Pakistan’s four main cities of Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad and Sialkot after a temporary suspension, but with a condition that passengers will be required to carry a negative COVID-19 report from a specified laboratory.

A spokesperson for the United Arab Emirates (UAE) airline said on Friday: “Following the receipt of relevant government approvals, Emirates has resumed passenger services to Pakistan. Customers can travel to Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad and Sialkot if they meet the requirements of their destination,” reports Dawn news.

“The health and safety of our crew, customers and communities remain our top priority. Emirates have put in place a comprehensive set of measures at every step of the customer journey on the ground and in the air, to minimise the risk of infection spread.”

The spokesperson added that passengers travelling from Pakistan to Dubai and beyond must present a negative COVID-19 PCR test result certificate at the time of check-in.

According to the spokesperson, children under the age of 12 years are exempted from the test if they are travelling with their parents who have tested negative and are fit to travel.

A senior official of Pakistan’s Aviation Division told Dawn news that the issue of the COVID-19 test report required by Emirates came under discussion at the meeting of the National Command Operation Centre (NCOC) on Thursday.

“Emirates have designated a laboratory for the COVID-19 test for passengers travelling by the airliner from Pakistan, but it has not been made mandatory by other countries so far,” the senior official said.

On June 24, Emirates had temporarily suspended passenger services from Pakistan till July 3 after about 30 Pakistanis who arrived in Hong Kong onboard an Emirates flight tested COVID-19 positive.

Of the 30 male and female passengers, some showed coronavirus symptoms, while others were asymptomatic.

This development came on the same day as Malaysia’s aviation regulator temporarily suspended pilots employed by domestic airlines who hold Pakistani licences after the Islamabad government revealed that many had dubious qualifications.

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