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Pakistan bans in-flight meals and snacks after spike in coronavirus cases

Pakistan’s civil aviation authority on Saturday announced a ban on serving snacks and meals in flights amid a dramatic surge in coronavirus cases across the country fuelled predominantly by the Omicron variant.

The directives came in line with the country’s Covid-19 task force, the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC), which has said that the ban would be effective from January 17.

On Saturday, the NCOC held meetings with various stakeholders to discuss the current coronavirus situation in the country.

After consultations, it directed the Civil Aviation Authority to ensure a complete ban on in-flight snacks and meals, and ensured other standard operating procedures such as wearing masks were implemented at all airports across the country.

The ban on snacks and meals will also apply on public transport from Monday, the NCOC statement said.

Pakistan has reported 4,286 cases on Saturday, the highest single-day surge witnessed since August 25, 2021, according to data shared by the Ministry of National Health Services.

The positivity ratio has also spiked up to 8.16 per cent, the highest in the last five months, when 52,522 tests were conducted across the country, the Health Ministry data revealed.

The number of cases in Pakistan have touched 1.32 million after the detection of new infections, while the death toll now stands at 29,003, with four deaths being reported in the last 24 hours.

Pakistan, currently under the grip of the fifth wave, is driven by the Omicron variant, which hit the country in early January. The number of new cases is rising despite more than 76 million people being fully vaccinated, while over 101 million are partially vaccinated. 

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