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    Omicron: NCOC allows Pakistanis stranded in Category C countries to return home

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    Pakistanis stranded in Category C countries have been given the green signal to return home till December 31 by the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC).

    This was confirmed by the NCOC in a statement issued Tuesday. The stranded Pakistanis includes anyone with a valid National Identity Card of Overseas Pakistanis (NICOP) and Pakistan Origin Card (POC). They will be permitted to return to Pakistan without exemption till December 31.

    According to the NCOC, passengers travelling from Category C countries will be required to submit proof of vaccination and take a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test 48 hours prior to boarding.

    They will be placed under mandatory quarantine upon arrival, if they are travelling from countries that have been hit by the Omicron variant of COVID-19, the centre stated in a statement.

    Separately, as vaccination of youngsters from 15 to 18 years of age has not started in some countries, the NCOC said mandatory full vaccination for inbound passengers between 15 to 18 years of age has been extended till January 31, 2022 instead of December 1, 2021.

    Earlier, the NCOC had added eight more names to its Category C list of countries from where travellers are banned from entering Pakistan in wake of the threat of the new COVID-19 variant Omicorn.

    The new Category C list includes Croatia, Hungary, Netherlands, Ukraine, Ireland, Slovenia, Vietnam, Poland, South Africa, Mozambique, Lesotho, Eswatini, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Namibia.

    The health and testing protocols for inbound air travel from Category C countries include a complete ban on inbound travel from Category C countries.

    To find out the health and safety protocols for travel from Category A, B and C countries, read this story.

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