ISLAMABAD: What can trigger an exponential spread of COVID-19 in the country, Pakistan has started receiving flights full of Coronavirus infected passengers.
In the special flights coming from different countries, dozens of passengers have been tested Coronavirus infected.
In just one such recent flight, test reports of 104 out of total 209 passengers who traveled from Abu Dhabi to Islamabad in a flight of Etihad Airways, found them Coronavirus +ve.
Commenting on these alarming reports, the officials said when entire world has been suffering from an unseen biological infection for last many months, it is the prime responsibility of host countries to ensure that they conduct complete medical check-up and adopt necessary procedures to detect fatal disease, before allowing passengers to travel to another country.
The documentary evidence available with The News Today, revealed that a flight No. EY-231 of Etihad Airways took-off at 04:42 pm, 28th April from Abu Dhabi International Airport carrying total 209 passengers for Islamabad, Pakistan.
The flight EY-231 landed at New Islamabad International Airport on the same day at 08:31 pm evening. Of these 209 passengers 200 were Pakistani citizens. The available record at the airport showed that not a single passenger was found infected with COVID-19 Pandemic, when they all were initially checked with thermo-gun by health officials deputed at Airport.
According to government’s standard operating procedures, all the passengers initially shifted to quarantine facility arranged by government. These passengers were shifted to Fatimah Jinnah Women University Rawalpindi and the swab test samples of all passengers were sent to laboratory for further procedure.
The test reports of passengers found that the 104 out of 209 passengers were infected with COVID-19 Pandemic.
Sources said most of these infected passengers were laborers who worked in different states of United Arab Emirates.
The passengers from this particular flight who have been declared infected belong from different cities across Punjab Province including Sialkot, Muzafargarh, Rawalpindi, Kot Addu, Multan, Mandi Phawal Deen, Gujranwala, Jhelum, Hattian Bala, Sargodha, Sheikhupura, Lahore, Sahiwal, Attok, Chakwal etc.
Some of these passengers are from different districts of Khyber PakhtunKhawa province including Swabi, Haripur, Orakzai Agency, Peshawar and Mansehra.
Regular flight operations are suspended in the country. However a number of special flights are planned to repatriate citizens to their home countries. These special flights are approved by the Government of Pakistan, subject to approval from other foreign governments.
Mainly the national flag carrier Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) has been operating this special operation but some foreign airlines are also brining these Pakistanis back.
A senior official of Civil Aviation department said it is the prime responsibility of host countries and international airlines to make sure that they allow boarding of passengers in carrier after the coronavirus test.
More than 40,000 overseas Pakistanis have been registered with online web portal requesting government of Pakistan to bring them back.
Experts believe that allowing people to come back without adopting proper health procedures and testing system for COVI-19, the Pandemic which has been relatively under control in Pakistan so far, would get out of control.
The Pakistani nationals who have registered themselves to return back, belong to all corners of the country.
(Zeeshan Javiad has also contributed for this investigative report)
Note: Realizing sensitivity involved with the issue, TNT has not disclosed identities of the infected passengers.