Planning to head up north? Stock up on masks first

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If you’re planning to head up north for vacations this summer, make sure you carry enough face masks with you. You may be fined for not wearing one.

The National Command and Operation Centre has instructed the administrations of Gilgit-Baltistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Kashmir to make masks mandatory for all tourists.

In a meeting chaired by Federal Minister for Development, Planning and Special Initiatives Asad Umar it was decided that density control will be assured at all major tourist attractions. This means that a limited number of visitors will be allowed into an area to prevent crowding.

Special coronavirus testing teams will be set up at airports and tourist spots. They will be responsible for testing and contact tracing of tourists.

It will also be mandatory for all tourists to get themselves tested for the virus before traveling.

The NCOC directed the provinces to ensure that all SOPs are strictly implemented. It added that the health ministry will soon formulate and issue special guidelines and action plans for tourist management.

Earlier this week, the government had announced that it will reopen its restaurants, cinemas, theatres and parks from August 10. Tourism resumed from August 8 and schools and other educational institutions will reopen from September 15.

Soon after the announcement, travel enthusiasts started heading up to Abbottabad and Swat. The road to Naran saw a massive traffic jam on the very first day and people visiting Kalam found difficulty finding hotel rooms for overnight stays due to a high influx of tourists in the area.

Tourism in Pakistan has been closed since March 19. The sector is of significance importance for the the country’s economy.