ISLAMABAD            -        The Ministry of National Health Services (NHS) on Monday released new guidelines for tourism directing all travellers to register and fill a mandatory Health Declaration Form (HDF) to proceed further.

The guidelines released by the ministry of NHS said that local administration would arrange check posts manned by law enforcement agencies (LEAs) at all entry points to travel areas.

It said that all travellers have to register and fill up a Health Declaration Form (HDF). Filling up of the form is mandatory for all travellers before proceeding further.

It said that potential tourists should ensure that all travellers were healthy and physically fit before embarking on the journey and it was advisable for elderly (more than 65 years) to avoid any kind of travelling unless cleared by their physician.

It also advised that travellers should ensure adequate supplies of masks and sanitizers before they embark on the journey.

Preventive guidelines for hotel administration said that it should ensure hotel or resort is always clean and hygienic. Lobbies, restrooms, hallways, public bathrooms, parking area, hotel entrance, lobby, restaurant and Spas and shared items (door handles/knobs, elevator buttons, stair bannisters, tabletops remotes, light switches) with disinfectants. Disinfect the surfaces (e.g. tables and chairs) and objects (e.g. telephones, papers, pens) with disinfectant regularly and clean.

It also advised to put sanitizing hand rub dispensers in prominent places. Refill dispensers regularly, display posters promoting hand-washing and maintaining good respiratory hygiene (cough etiquette advice).

It also directed for thermal screening of all the people coming to resorts or hotels, always sanitize vehicles used by the tourists through disinfectant spray and encourage social distancing of 6 feet. 

It said to encourage use of face masks.

The guidelines said it was responsibility of hotel administration for informing the tourists about the local SOPs, precautionary measures and available health-care facilities at nearby hospitals from tourist spots. 

Regarding measures at reception the guidelines said to disinfect the reception area and hotel lobby at least once an hour and ensure adequate ventilation.

It directed to disinfect the reception desk, payment terminals, room keys after each check-in on a regular basis and mark out spaces clearly using measuring instruments to make social distancing of 6 feet easy to follow for the guests at reception. It said to encourage use and provide facemasks to all guests and employees.

Measures for check-in procedure include carrying out thermal scanning and record temperature and check-in individually, with the number of people limited to two from one booking.

Guidelines advised to minimize reduction of procedures for check-in, PPEs must be worn by reception staff while at work (e.g. disposable gloves, medical mask) and availability of shoe sanitizing mat at the entrance to the hotel lobby/

It also directed the hotels managements to give single room of hotel to not more than two guests and double room not more than four guests.

Health ministry guidelines advised to disinfect the space of each room thoroughly after checking-out, along with complete disinfection of furniture and equipment available in the room, in particular a telephone, mini bar and TV with remote control.

It said to change the bedding according to safety standards and carry out detailed disinfection of bathroom every day using single-use materials and disinfectants and availability of hand sanitizers in all rooms.

Guidelines said that tourism was a significant part of many national economies, and the immediate and immense shock to the tourism sector resulting from the coronavirus pandemic was affecting the wider economy. 

It said these protocols had been designed in order to minimize the potential for contracting COVID-19 and subsequently reducing its spread including specific measures needed to protect safety and health of tourists.