Quality of rapid PCR tests at airports should be ensured: NCOC

The National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) on Thursday directed relevant authorities to ensure quality assessment of rapid PCR tests at all of the country’s airports following the concerns raised by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) aviation authority.

The General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) of UAE had raised concerns over the authenticity of the COVID-19 rapid PCR tests at Pakistani airports after hundreds of passengers tested positive for the virus upon arrival in UAE. It stated that 75,000 passengers had departed for the UAE in August 2021 after undergoing rapid PCR tests while 684 travellers tested positive for Covid-19 upon arrival.

Taking these concerns into consideration, the NCOC directed the health ministry, foreign ministry and the Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to monitoring the mechanism at airports.

The NCOC’s directive to the relevant authorities read: “Such lapses not only undermine national stance of disease control but also have serious implications on exhaustive efforts put-in for resumption of flights to UAE.”