Pakistan’s aviation regulator Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), has placed a restriction on providing snacks and meals in aircraft on Saturday, citing a sharp increase in coronavirus cases across the country, primarily caused by the Omicron variant.
“Amid rising Omicron Covid 19 cases across the country, NCOC bans serving meals/snacks on board in domestic flights and public transport effective January 17,” a tweet from Pakistan’s CAA said. The meals are banned to prevent people from removing masks mid-air and also to reduce the interactions between airline crew members and passengers.
The orders were issued in accordance with the country’s COVID-19 task force, the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC), which said that the ban would start on January 17. The NCOC convened talks with several stakeholders on Saturday to examine the country’s current coronavirus crisis.
Following the talks with various stakeholders, NCOC urged the Civil Aviation Authority to ensure a complete ban on in-flight snacks and meals and also to ensure that people follow other standard operating procedures such as wearing masks and use of sanitisers at all airports across the country.
Besides within aircraft, snacks and meals will be prohibited on public transportation beginning Monday, according to the NCOC statement.
During a previous wave, Pakistan banned serving drinking water on flights. Instead, authorities started placing disposable water bottles on the seats.
Fifth COVID-19 wave in Pakistan
According to the data released by the Ministry of National Health Services, Pakistan reported 4,286 cases on Saturday, a tremendous single-day increase since August 25, 2021.
According to data from the Health Ministry, the positivity ratio had risen to 8.16%, the highest in the recent five months, when 52,522 tests were completed across the country.
Following the discovery of additional infections, the number of cases in Pakistan has risen to 1.32 million, with the death toll currently standing at 29,003, with four deaths confirmed in the last 24 hours.
Pakistan is currently afflicted by the fifth wave, which began in early January and is driven by the Omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus. Although more than 76 million individuals are fully vaccinated, and more than 101 million are partially vaccinated, new cases continue to rise in Pakistan.