105 UAE-returned Pakistanis test positive for coronavirus

Special flights from Sharjah, Dubai and Colombo also had 190 COVID positive travelers

Nearly 105 Pakistanis returning from UAE on Etihad Airways flight on Monday have tested positive for coronavirus, Rawalpindi Deputy Commissioner Anwarul Haq revealed. The flight had a total of 209 passengers on board.

The travelers were quarantined at a facility at Fatima Jinnah Women University. Those who tested positive were moved to the Rawalpindi Institute of Urology (RIU). Passengers with negative results were allowed to go home and advised to self-isolate. Virus test results for some of the passengers are still awaited.  

The current development has alarmed the Pakistani authorities. According to Special Assistant to Prime Minister on National Security Dr. Moeed Yusuf, the government discussing the matter with UAE authorities.

“We have now formally taken this up with the UAE government,” he said, noting that if arriving passengers continue to test positive, the provinces’ health capacity will come under pressure. The government will have to reduce the number of people being repatriated,” Yusuf said.

According to Special Assistant to the Prime Minister, cases were predominantly on flights coming from the UAE, which brought laborers who typically live in cramped and unhygienic conditions in the Gulf country. He also said that other countries are not testing those returning to Pakistan for coronavirus and utilizing those kits for their citizens.

Similar issues have been experienced on other flights bringing overseas Pakistanis as well. Special flights that brought passengers from Sharjah, Dubai, and Colombo had 190 coronavirus positive travelers. PIA is running special flights under the directives of the government to bring Pakistanis stranded overseas back home.

It was previously reported that over 250 passengers coming back to the country on 22 special flights have tested positive for COVID-19. Over 3,500 passengers traveled on these special flights.

Currently, there are over 21,500 active cases of coronavirus in Pakistan as of May 5 evening. Around 486 people lost their lives to the virus so far. Nearly 6,000 people have also recovered in the country.

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