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Egypt makes polio certificate mandatory for Pakistan

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  • Egyptian authorities say OPV or IPV both certificates are acceptable.
  • WHO highlighted gaps in Pakistan, Afghanistan’s efforts to eliminate polio.
  • Environmental samples underscore risk of polio outbreak in Pakistan.

KARACHI: The Egyptian authorities have made it mandatory for travelers from Pakistan, Afghanistan, and other countries to provide a polio vaccination certificate.

“As informed by the Egyptian Authorities, passengers travelling to Egypt from Pakistan, Afghanistan, Malawi, Mozambique and Congo are requested to provide an international certificate of vaccination specifically polio vaccine, OPV or IPV (both are acceptable),” Pakistan’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said in an advisory on its website on Monday.

It added that foreigners who have stayed more than four weeks in the above-mentioned countries are also required to provide polio vaccination in order to travel to Egypt.

Last month, the International Health Regulations’ (2005) Emergency Committee, responsible for assessing global poliovirus spread, expressed concerns over Pakistan’s efforts to reach a large number of children through its polio eradication campaign.

In a session convened by the World Health Organisation (WHO) director general on August 16, 2023, the committee highlighted the gaps in Pakistan and Afghanistan’s efforts to eliminate polio.

It emphasised that recent favorable environmental samples from Peshawar and Karachi underscore the persistent risk of a polio outbreak in Pakistan.

The committee highlighted that a new case of WPV1 emerged in Pakistan since the last meeting, bringing the 2023 total to two cases. Both instances occurred in the Bannu district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province. Throughout the year, at least 15 environmental surveillance-positive samples were identified.

“Although the action plan in southern KP has resulted in 160,000 more children being vaccinated, the context remains challenging — including political instability, insecurity in some areas with front-line workers requiring police patrols to accompany them and vaccination boycotts, where communities make demands for other services in exchange for allowing polio vaccination,” the committee further said.

Commenting on the emergency committee’s statement, Pakistan’s caretaker health minister Dr Nadeem Jan told The News that boosting routine immunisation and coverage of zero dose via outreach campaigns would help in polio eradication efforts in the country.

In Afghanistan, since the last meeting, there have been five new WPV1 cases reported, all from Nangarhar province, the emergency committee said adding that the cases occurred in five different districts and had onsets from April to May 2023.

“Any setback in Afghanistan poses a risk to the programme in Pakistan due to high population movement,” the emergency committee warned.

The committee further observed that in 2023, there were only two genetic clusters of WPV1 identified, compared to three in 2022 and five in 2021.

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US envoy urges deeper strengthening of relations with Pakistan

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The significance of strengthening relations with Pakistan was highlighted by US Ambassador Donald Blome on Thursday.

Blome visited the Chaukhandi cemetery in Karachi, based on the information. President Donald Blome and other delegates were cordially welcomed by Sindh Minister of Culture and Tourism Syed Zulfiqar Ali Shah on this particular occasion.

Narendra Kumar, Heather Murphy, and Zahra Hajiani were among the delegation members who visited Chaukhandi Graveyard’s historic tombs with the American envoy, Acting Consul General Jimmy Mauldin.

Highlighting the rich historical significance of Chaukhandi graveyard, Minister Zulfiqar Ali Shah shared his ideas with the US ambassador.

Blome highlighted the Chaukhandi tombs for their exquisite craftsmanship and architectural design. He promised to help Pakistani visitors with their visa requirements.

According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation (Unesco), he promised to promote the nation’s historical sites.

In the meantime, Shah stated, “The Sindh government is taking steps to provide all sorts of facilities to the tourists.”

Pakistan will receive additional assistance from the US to lower methane gas emissions.

The US decided to help Pakistan lower its methane gas emissions earlier this month.

At a USAID Climate Financing event, US Ambassador Blome stated: “We are working very hard to lower methane gas emissions from dairy farming. The Green Climate Fund in Pakistan will be consulted for funding this initiative.”

“As of 2030, there are global efforts to reduce the temperature by 1 degree Celsius. The US-Pakistan Green Alliance is being followed by the collaboration with Pakistan, according to Blome.

“The problems can only be addressed by providing the stakeholders with financial and technical resources,” he continued.

The government’s first aim is to revitalise the cattle industry, according to Federal Secretary Dr. Fakhre Alam. Raising dairy farming’s production capacity will help it overcome its environmental problems.”

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Shehbaz travels to the UAE in order to strengthen trade relations.

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This visit, which is being accompanied by a high-level delegation made up of important ministers such as Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Ishaq Dar, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif, Commerce Minister Jam Kamal, Information Minister Ataullah Tarar, and advisor Tariq Fatemi, is intended to strengthen bilateral ties and expand cooperation between the two countries.
Prime Minister Sharif will visit President Muhammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan of the United Arab Emirates in Abu Dhabi. The high-level gathering will cover Pakistani and UAE bilateral relations, with an emphasis on commerce and investment.

Along with exploring strategic alliances and shared interests that can help their respective nations, they are also expected to concentrate on talking about ways to advance collaboration across a range of industries.

Prime Minister Sharif has talks planned with other Emirati leaders, businesspeople, and heads of financial organisations in addition to his diplomatic engagements. In an effort to promote economic cooperation and draw in investment, he is also scheduled to meet with businessmen and investors from Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates.

The Shehbaz intends to encourage UAE companies to extend their operations into the Pakistani market by interacting with influential businesspeople and highlighting investment prospects in Pakistan.

These exchanges will offer a forum for talking about doable ways to strengthen business relations and carry out initiatives that will benefit both parties. Pakistan’s determination to enhance its political and economic ties with the United Arab Emirates is demonstrated by the visit.

After ending his day-long journey to Iran to offer condolences for the terrible death of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and his entourage in a helicopter crash on Sunday, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has returned to Pakistan.

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Memon accuses temporary government of ‘delaying’ the BRT Red Line project

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On Thursday, Sindh Minister Sharjeel Inam Memon accused the interim administration of “delaying” the Red Line project of the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT).

Memon stated what he thought, saying, “The BRT Red Line project was mission impossible. However, the project has now begun to be worked on.”

“The reason government is formed is to solve the issues that the people face. “The government is working tirelessly to bring relief to the masses,” he declared.

Memon declared, “It’s also being done about the unlawful bus stands. The passengers will have access to shuttle service from us.”

“A large number of transport projects have already begun. “We aim to ensure that every individual receives a chance to work,” he continued.

Pakistan was ‘started to damage’ by the founder of PTI.

Memon reported on Thursday that a campaign to hurt the nation was started by the founder of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).

Memon said at a Karachi event: “Israel discusses the human rights violations in Pakistan. Israel, a party to the Palestinian holocaust, is endorsing the PTI’s founder. Israel has provided election funding to the PTI’s founder.”

“The worst election tampering in 2018 produced the PTI founder’s victory. Police officers, the parliament, and the PTV were all attacked,” he claimed.

“The entire country was closed due to a 126-day protest,” Memon claimed.

The PTI founder was made fun of by Memon, who said, “The PTI founder had always embraced the politics of anarchy.”

Memon stated the following when discussing the state of law and order in Sindh: “The Sindh government is serious about the state of law and order in the province. In terms of keeping Sindh peaceful, everyone is in agreement.”

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