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Booster shot must with Chinese jabs for visitors: Saudi Arabia

ISLAMABAD: As Saudi Arabia allows the entry of fully vaccinated travellers if they get booster dose of a recognised vaccine in the wake of a United Arab Emirates’ decision to lift a ban on transit flights, Pakistan on Wednesday made another record of per day Covid-19 vaccination.

Saudi Arabia, says a Dawn.com report, decided to allow entry to the foreign travellers fully vaccinated with either Sinopharm or Sinovac, provided they also receive a booster shot of any of the four vaccines approved by the Kingdom, according to the country’s e-visa portal.

The decision is set to provide relief to Pakistani workers, waiting to resume duties in the Kingdom.

Before the fresh decision, Saudi Arabia was allowing entry to those who have been vaccinated with either Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccines.

According to data released by the National Command and Operation Center, 4,722 Covid-19 cases and 46 deaths were reported on Wednesday. As many as 1,139,580 doses of vaccine were administered in a single day, taking the tally to 33,059,676.

Reports suggest that Saudi Arabia has allowed the entry of those people who have been administered the vaccines which were not recognised by the kingdom. However, they will have to get a booster dose of a recognised vaccine.

The National Emergency and Crisis Management Authority (NCEMA) of the UAE said the other day the Gulf state would lift the ban on transit flights, including from India and Pakistan, from Thursday (today).

Reuters quoted the NCEMA as saying that India and Pakistan are important markets for Emirates, Etihad Airways and other UAE carriers flydubai and Air Arabia. The Gulf state, a major international travel hub, had banned passengers from many South Asian and African states travelling through its airports this year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The NCEMA said on Twitter that passengers travelling from countries where flights had been banned would be able to transit through its airports from Aug 5 as long as they present a negative PCR coronavirus test taken 72 hours prior to departure.

The transit ban had also included Nepal, Sri Lanka, Uganda and Nigeria.

Meanwhile, Justice Qazi Faez Isa, a senior judge of the Supreme Court who had contracted Covid-19 despite being vaccinated, has suggested that public sector and military hospitals should be open for general public.

In a statement, Justice Isa said: “Since we are in a situation no less grave than a war, all public sector hospitals, including combined military hospitals and other armed forces hospitals, should be opened immediately to serve the people. Otherwise, class and social divides will further be exacerbated and people continue to suffer and die because of an unequal system.”

He said Article 9 of the Constitution guaranteed the right to life as a fundamental right, of which health was an integral part. “My wife and I were one of the initial lucky few in the country who were fully vaccinated as both of us were above 60; courtesy of the Chinese government. We took every precaution, including always wearing masks in public places, yet contracted the highly infectious Delta variant of the disease. Even with the vaccination, I still had to be hospitalised. I am receiving excellent treatment from very competent doctors and attendants at the Quaid-i-Azam International Hospital. Such treatment is not within the reach of most [people],” he added.

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