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Those stuck in transit; please don’t take a flight to Pakistan, Moeed Yousuf

Prime Minister’s special assistant on National Security, Dr. Moeed Yousuf on Sunday directed overseas Pakistanis against returning to the country owing to the coronavirus pandemic, which has left four people dead and over 700 infected by the coronavirus.

“Overseas Pakistanis should not return to Pakistan for two weeks,” Yusuf said during a press conference alongside Dr. Zafar Mirza.

“Pakistan’s airspace will remain closed for international flights till April 4, 2020,” he added.

The special assistant highlighted that the international flights’ suspension came into effect at 8 pm last night and would remain so till 8pm, April 4.

“Some passengers who initiated their travel and started to move to Pakistan are now [stuck] in transit in some countries”.

“The government was in contact with all relevant airlines, authorities, and officials of those countries’ governments and working to find a solution for those stuck in transit and would be clarify “in a few hours,” he said.

“Our embassies are in touch with them and the provisions, as much as is possible, will be provided. I want to personally appeal, I’m requesting that — see, we announced a suspension yesterday — so, regardless of whether an airline tells you [they’re operating] or you have an emergency, please understand that and do not go to airports, do not board planes, wherever you are.

“Most of these passengers do not have a coronavirus [test result] certificate. We started bringing into effect the certificate requirement yesterday and it was announced last week.

“They are our passengers and we’re making arrangements but please follow that country’s regulations, laws, and advice, so that we are able prepare in these two weeks a system to ensure that the [corona] virus does not spread here,” Yusuf underscored.

The special assistant to PM said the government was developing a special screening system to make sure anyone arriving into Pakistan from abroad was safe from the virus and did not end up spreading it in the country.

“I would request that it is not possible for the government to create a provision for those stuck in transit and please do not take a flight to Pakistan.

“We will take measures to ensure that the virus does not travel through the airports. Till April 4, the Pakistani airspace will remain closed,” the special assistant added.

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