Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, many people around the world continue to travel to meet family and friends, for leisure, business, and humanitarian reasons. This means that reliable information is vital for protecting yourself on the go. In this article, we will share some guidelines for travelers and tourists during the COVID-19 pandemic in Pakistan.
Contact Tracing and Arrival from a Foreign Country
As of 5th October 2020, all International travelers coming to Pakistan must follow travel and contact tracing guidelines.
Countries Categorized by COVID-19 Risk
According to the level of risk anticipated, the Government of Pakistan has divided countries in three categories, i.e., Category A, B, and C.
- Category A: This includes countries which are exempted from mandatory COVID-19 testing.
- Category B: People traveling from countries in Category B will require a mandatory negative COVID-19 RT-PCR test that has to be taken within 72 hours of the travel date.
- Category C: Countries in Category C are restricted and are only allowed as per guidelines by the National Command Operation Center (NCOC).
You can see the updated categories for countries here.
Note: You can learn about COVID-19 vaccination requirements for citizens traveling abroad here.
Pass Track Contract Tracing App
People coming from foreign countries must use the Pass Track app. This app requires people coming to Pakistan to submit the required information within 48 hours before arriving. The app enables travelers to submit updates related to their health for up to 14 days after arriving in Pakistan.
You can access the Pass Track app via the following:
Guidelines for Travelers and Tourists
The best way to stop the spread of COVID-19 is by following precautionary measures such as social distancing and hygiene practices recommended by the World Health Organization and the Government of Pakistan. You can also read an article on our website about COVID-19 preventive measures and updates.
1. General Traveling Guidelines
For more specific guidelines for travelers and tourists, see the guidelines below.
- It is best to check if the place you are visiting is safe and not under a strict lockdown. You can track cases by region from the COVID-19 Health Advisory Platform, the Twitter handle and Facebook Page of the Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations & Coordination. Additionally, you can also follow the Facebook Page or Twitter handles of your local Deputy Commissioner (DC) or District Health Officer (DHO) for latest COVID-19 related updates.
- People traveling should ensure that all travelers are healthy and physically fit before starting the journey.
- Elderly persons (more than 65 years) should avoid any kind of traveling unless cleared by their doctor.
- Travelers should ensure adequate supply of masks and sanitizers before leaving home for their travel.
- If you feel unwell while traveling, isolate yourself and seek medical attention as soon as possible.
- If you have returned from a destination experiencing a severe COVID-19 outbreak, stay at home and isolate yourself for 3-5 days even if you don’t have any symptoms.
- Wash your hands regularly and thoroughly, avoid shaking hands or touching your face, try and stay away from crowded places.
- Where possible, maintain at least 1 meter (6 feet) distance between yourself and others.
2. Things to Check when Picking a Service Provider (Hotel, Motel, Guesthouse, or Inn)
Below is a checklist for travelers and tourists to ensure that they are staying at a place which has the necessary COVID-19 precautions in place.
As per guidelines from the Government of Pakistan and best practices, your service provider must:
- Conduct thermal screening of all guests entering the premises.
- Place sanitizer at entry points.
- Make arrangements for ensuring social distancing by marking the ground and walls with adhesive tape in all public access areas in the facilities.
- Ensure guests are wearing face masks.
- Disinfect and clean guest luggage upon arrival.
- Ensure frequent cleaning of spaces (lobbies, restrooms, hallways, public bathrooms, parking area, entrance, lobby, and restaurant) and shared items (door handles/knobs, elevator buttons, tabletops remotes, light switches).
- Disinfect the surfaces (e.g., tables and chairs) and objects (e.g., telephones, papers, pens) regularly. You can also read our guidelines on disinfecting surfaces.
- Display posters and instructions promoting handwashing and maintaining good respiratory hygiene around the building.
- Sanitize vehicles used by the tourists through disinfectant spray.
- Disinfect the space of each room thoroughly after checking- out, along with complete disinfection of furniture and equipment available in the room, in particular a telephone, mini bar and TV with remote control.
- Disinfect bathrooms every day using single-use materials and disinfectants.
- Cleaning staff must wear PPE e.g., gloves, masks while maintaining a safe distance from guests.
It is the responsibility of hotel administration for informing the tourists about the local SOPs, precautionary measures, and available health-care facilities at nearby hospitals from tourist spots.
3. Things to Check when Picking a Restaurant, Cafe, or Fast Food
Whether you’re going to a restaurant within the city or using the restaurant/cafe offered by the service provider, see if they are adhering to the checklist below. As per instructions from the National Command Operation Center (NCOC), all restaurants, cafes and fast foods must:
- Provide only outdoor dining, food delivery service or takeaways.
- Maintain social distancing.
- Open the restaurant daily for a limited time (follow local administration SOPs and timings).
- Prohibit sick employees in the workplace.
- Ensure and follow strict handwashing practices.
- Ensure practices regarding surface cleaning and disinfecting.
- Ensure food safety manager is on site at all times during operating hours.
- Waste management should be closely monitored to make sure proper disposal of waste.
Additionally, the following measures can help reduce the spread of COVID-19:
- Use of disposable napkins which are pre-packed.
- Delivering meals preferably to rooms (where applicable).
- Disinfecting room service trolleys and waiter trays.
- Sanitizing the kitchen utensils and equipment according to sanitary procedures.
- Minimizing the number of staff present at one time in the kitchen.
- Regularly sanitizing staff uniforms.
4. Things to Check when Picking a Tourism Operator
Other than the aforementioned guidelines related to thermal scanning, masks and social distancing, your tourism operator must also:
- Make arrangements to record visitor contact details on booking or entry (details of tourists, including Computerized National Identity Card (CNIC) numbers, phone numbers, and home addresses).
- If the tourist is arriving from restricted countries or regions, ensure that detailed information is collected upon arrival or at the time of reservation.
- Protect staff wellbeing by ensuring staff and hygiene measures are in place as well as ensuring workers are complying with health advice and are not unwell.
- A copy of guidelines should be provided to every staff member.
5. Preventive Measures at Public Spaces / Tourist Spots
If you are a tourist or traveling to a famous tourist destination, see the following guidelines to protect yourself and others around you:
- All tourists must always wear face masks in public places and keep hand sanitizers.
- Drivers and helpers transporting tourists should also wear masks at all times during journeys.
- Thermal screening should be carried out for all tourists before entering the tourist destination.
- Any person with increased body temperature should be subject to further examination and if needed could be placed in quarantine, according to the SOPs.
Note: Direct link of all tourist spots with nearest health facility is to be formalized by local administration.
You can also access detailed SOP’s for tourists, travel and tourism businesses by the Ministry of National Health Services and Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation.
Where to Get Help?
You can visit the Government of Pakistan’s COVID-19 Health Advisory Platform to get regular updates. To get more information on COVID-19 testing, symptoms, or any other related queries, call at the Sehat Tahaffuz Helpline at 1166.
To receive personalized guidance, you can send us a private message on the Bolo Facebook Page, Monday to Friday, from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.