ISLAMABAD - The Ministry of National Health Services on Sunday issued Standard Operating Procedure (SOPs) in border management measures for passengers and cargo at land crossings in wake of COVID-19 situation.

According to Ministry of National Health Services, these SOPs were issued for both authorities and health officials in land border management measures to protect health and ensure the safe deliveries of critical goods and essential cargo services.

It said that for general preparations at land crossings and border check points, it was of utmost importance that necessary preparations were made at land crossing to effectively deal with the challenge of COVID-19.

As per SOPs, the government has made it mandatory to ensure average number of travelers crossing the borders per day and demarcation of screening premises, temporary Isolation areas, waiting areas and quarantine facilities for suspected or infected travelers.

It will also be obligatory of availability of necessary equipment such as thermal guns, thermo scanners, PPEs etc. besides identification and employment of trained staff at health counters.

The SOPs ensured clear guidelines to the staff for their roles and responsibilities and establishing coordination with concerned agencies and departments including law enforcement agency (LEA), FIA, relevant provincial officials, DG Health or District Health Officer or availability of ambulances through relevant department.

The government through these SOPs directed to adopt general operating procedures immediately after crossing Zero Line while on arrival of travelers after crossing the border, proper queuing should be ensured by keeping them at least two meters apart from each other in view to maintain social distancing.

 All travelers and staff should wear appropriate surgical or medical mask while hand sanitizers should to be placed at arrival points and travelers should be advised to rub and sanitize their hands.

The government has recommended that all passenger cabins including trucks, buses, vans and cars should be disinfected by any of the relevant chemicals at border crossings including use of compound quaternary ammonium salt, double-chain quaternary ammonium salt, hydrogen peroxide or chlorine-containing disinfectant.

Under these SOPs, the government has asked to ensure provision of surgical or medical masks for travelers, handing over of Health Declaration Forms (HDF) and travel history forms to all the travelers by the health check post staff and ensuring that both forms are submitted to Port Health Officials Health check post reception desk or health declaration counter (CHE).

Health counter should be served as a point of first contact for the travelers with their filled-in HDFs. It added filled HDFs should be collected at the counter and analyzed as per the questions, helping segregation and preliminary decisions.

All the travelers will be screened with thermal guns and scanner by health staff and inquired about symptoms, if any. The results of screening should be evaluated by the health staff.

 Travelers with fever should be marked on HDF and report to this effect is made immediately to Incharge Health Check Post for action while travelers with no fever should go through routine quarantine process.

The government has recommended that all travelers should be kept under quarantine for 14 days and at the termination of this period a COVID RT-PCR will be performed for clearance of traveler.