Islamabad: The Pakistan government has decided to reduce the quarantine period for inbound air passengers from 48 hours to the earliest possible in an effort to bring back more stranded citizens from abroad amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Also Read - 'RIP Common Sense': Twitter Schools Pakistan on Ladakh Weather Update Gaffe

Following the Prime Minister’s directive to bring stranded citizens back home, the National Command and Operations Centre (NCOC), in coordination with the provinces and health professionals, on Monday moved to reduce the quarantine period, reports Dawn news. Also Read - Handwara Encounter: Fearing Indian Retaliation, Pakistan Increases Patrolling by Its Fighter Jets

Passengers will be transported to quarantine centres and will stay there until the return of tests results, after which they may be quarantined or instructed to self-isolate at home. Also Read - 'Legally Void Action, in Violation of UNSC Resolutions': Pakistan on India's Move to Broadcast Weather Reports on PoK

This strategy will allow raising the weekly cap for inbound passengers from 7,000-8,000 to 11,000-12,000.

Special Assistant to the Prime Minister Moeed Yusuf said that the inbound passengers will be allowed a preference between two modes of quarantine, free of cost government quarantine centres or paid government-regulated hotels/facilities. Testing will be conducted as soon as possible after arrival at a quarantine facility.

The passengers with negative results will be sent home with guidelines on self-isolation for completion of 14-day period.

The total number of passengers planned from May 11 to 21 is approximately 11,000, with stranded passengers being repatriated from at least 22 countries, said the Dawn news report. Countries from which majority flights are incoming are the UAE, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the US and Oman.