ISLAMABAD - Special Assistant to Prime Minister on National Security, Dr. Moeed Yusuf, has expressed the hope that all Pakistani labourers, especially in the Gulf countries, will be able to return to the country in next few weeks as all airlines have been allowed to enter into Pakistan.

Giving a briefing to media here on Thursday, he said all airlines have been allowed to enter into Pakistan and 270 flights are expected to land in the country from June 26 to 30.

He said the screening process for outbound passengers from Pakistan will start from tomorrow.

During this process, the passengers will be checked for body temperature and other ailments, he said.

He also advised the outbound passengers to travel only if they are completely healthy in order to satisfy the requirements of their destination countries.

He said Prime Minister Imran Khan has given special instructions to take care of overseas Pakistanis.

The Special Assistant to the PM said that the government has decided to follow the same screening process for passengers flying out of Pakistan as it does for incoming passengers.  The government’s change in policy, effective from Saturday (June 27), comes a day after Emirates temporarily suspended its services after about 30 Pakistanis who arrived in Hong Kong onboard the UAE airline's flight on June 22 tested positive for Covid-19.

Yusuf said that contrary to reports, “not all people who travelled outside Pakistan have tested positive. It has been reported that a big percentage of outbound passengers from Pakistan have tested positive in other countries. I want to clarify that is not the case,” he said.

Moeed Yusuf further said that while outbound passengers would not be tested for the coronavirus, their temperatures and symptoms would be checked. “If there is any suspicion, the health staff will question the travellers and if they are suspected to have corona symptoms, they will not be allowed to travel,” he said further.

He urged people, especially those who have booked their tickets, to come to airports only if they are satisfied that they are completely fit.

He cautioned that if people had symptoms or had been in contact with a corona patient, they should not come to the airport.

The SAPM also advised people to study the policy of the country they were headed to and make sure they fulfil all conditions. Several countries have made it compulsory for all passengers to quarantine themselves for 14 days while others have mandated that incoming passengers should have their tests done, he said and added that people flying to those countries should make sure to fulfill the conditions.

Speaking about passengers from Pakistan testing positive, he said that the government was aware of it. He said that some countries have raised concerns in this regard. “We are looking into this as a responsible state and will take steps. We will address these concerns,” he maintained.