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Travel Red List Imran Hussain

UK Govt removes Pakistan from the Travel Red List (Lord Nazir’s Message)

LONDON: UK has taken Pakistan off the Travel Red List on Friday 17th of September after 5 months of restrictions. 

British Transport Secretary Grant Shapps took to the Twitter to inform: “Eight countries and territories, including Pakistan, Turkey and Maldives will come off the travel “red list” at 4am on Sept 22″. 

British High Commissioner to Pakistan Christian Turner stated: “Pleased to confirm that Pakistan is off the red list. I know how difficult the last 5 months were for so many who rely on close links between United Kingdom and Pakistan “. 

Federal Minister for Planning, Development, Reforms and Special Initiatives Asad Umar said: “Good to know finally the right decision taken to take Pakistan off red list. UK high commission in Pak has been supportive throughout. Support for conveying facts about the covid situation in Pakistan by UK parliamentarians is also highly appreciated.”

Imran Hussain MP (Bradford East) informing that the UK Govt has removed Pakistan from the Travel Red List stated: “After a long campaign urging the Government to stop making bad decisions based on politics, and to instead make them based on science, I am pleased that Ministers have now finally seen sense and have followed the data to remove travel restrictions placed on Pakistan.

“Following this change, those returning from Pakistan will no longer hiver to quarantine in overpriced, managed quarantine hotels, but Ministers still have questions to answer over their appalling handling of this situation, including on the abysmal standards in these hotels and on why they kept Pakistan on the red list for so long.”

Correspondence by Yasmin Qureshi, MP Bolton South East (AAPG Pakistan Chair) shared by Imran Hussain:

Pakistan Travel Measures: Thank you so much for taking time out of your annual leave to speak to me about regarding Pakistan’s Red List status – a  conversation which outlined your Government’s reasoning behind the decision, and also for your letter dated 11 August which reiterated the position in more specific detail.

This letter is supplementary to my letter to you dated 12 August, which was co-signed by parliamentary colleagues.

Since we last spoke, my Parliamentary colleagues and I have been in regular contact with Ministers and Officials from Pakistan regarding their management of the pandemic. They are acutely aware of the severity of the coronavirus crisis and, from their response, it is obvious that they are fully aware of the gravity of the situation, even down to the amount of oxygen being used in hospitals and have acted to ensure that measures are implemented to control the spread of coronavirus which within Pakistan.

Pakistan’s genome sequencing results confirmed that the Delta variant is dominant in Pakistan, and accounts for over 90% of positive coronavirus cases – this is also the dominant variant in the United Kingdom. There is no other variant of concern identified in Pakistan.

Other countries in Western Europe, such as Spain, Italy, and Germany, have not placed Pakistan on their travel Red List and have implemented a home –based quarantine policy. Germany considers India to be a country which has a variant of concern.

Your letter expresses disquiet over the lack of data provided to the GISAID, although my understanding is that the necessary data has already been provided to GISAID and that the Government of Pakistan intends to ensure that the data is regularly provided to GISAID.

Here are some top level figures as of 23 August 2021:

. Pakistan’s positivity rate: reduced from 7.70% to 6.78% (a total decline of 12%)
. Daily average cases: reduced from 4404 to 3629 (a total  decline of 18%)

. Daily mortality: reduced from 77 deaths a day to 74

Keeping  Pakistan in the Red List is causing grievous suffering to so many people within the diaspora who have been unable to see family members, particularly parents who are seriously ill, as well as separating spouses and children.

The Government could have a policy whereby people can travel with negative PCR tests and World Health Organisation- approved vaccines (of which the majority in Pakistan are). The arriving passenger could then quarantine at home and be required to have repeat tests until they finish their quarantine – rather than pay a punitive amount of money to isolate in sub- standard hotels.

I urge you once again to reconsider Pakistan’s travel status and move it to the Amber List with the imposition of necessary requirements to overcome any concerns of our British Government.”

Faisal Sultan, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on National Health Services, Regulations & Coordination, also took to the Twitter to state: “Great news for those waiting to travel. I am grateful to … Turner… and others in the UK gov who engaged with our team for an in depth understanding of our epidemic response and systems as well as the ongoing sharing of data and information to enable disease security.”

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M M Alam

M. M. Alam is a Pakistan-based working journalist since 1981. Karachi University faculty gold medalist Alam began his career four decades ago by writing for Dawn, Pakistan’s highest circulating English daily. He has worked for region’s leading publications, global aviation periodicals including Rotors (of USA) and vetted New York Times as permanent employee of daily Express Tribune. Alam regularly covers international aviation and defense-related events including Salon Du Bourget (France), Farnborough (United Kingdom), Dubai (UAE). Alam has reported thousands of events and interviewed hundreds of people in Pakistan, UAE, EU, UK and USA. Being Francophone Alam also coordinates with a number of French publications.