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Pakistan enhances airport screening for new COVID-19 variant

Border Health Services (BHS) ordered airport authorities to enhance COVID-19 screening on Thursday for all overseas travellers landing in Pakistan following a recent global rise in virus cases, mainly in China and India.

The alert further stated that any ill traveller should have an Antigen Rapid Test (ART) performed at the airports by Airport Health Services.

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The notification states that as part of efficient control and prevention measures, all BHS focal individuals have been instructed to keep a high degree of awareness for the quick identification, detection, and isolation of any possible cases to stop further transmission.

The appropriate personal protective equipment (PPES) by the healthcare workers for interruption of transmission, as well as the disinfection and fumigation of passenger arrival areas, have been advised to all in-charges to strictly implement Infection Prevention Control (IPC) protocols at the points of entry.

As part of the national response to COVID-19 at the points of entry, it has been recommended that a random sampling of all arriving passengers on international flights (2%) be conducted.

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The border health authority has also encouraged all airlines to help their employees conduct the tests efficiently because certain passengers frequently object to it.

The National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) rejected the discovery of the Omicron sub-variant BF.7 in Pakistan on December 26 and asserted that there is no threat from any new COVID-19 variants.

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