MPs are calling on the Health Secretary to remove Pakistan from the red list of countries for travel. This has been an ongoing issue as Pakistan has managed to keep its numbers stable where the infection of the virus in concerned. United Kingdom is also trying to keep the infection from entering the country as now there are more dangerous mutations of the virus appearing.
The letter, organized by Bolton South East MP Yasmin Qureshi, says the country’s place on the red list is causing “grievous suffering” to people who are unable to see family members.
It comes as the Government is expected to review its traffic light system which determines the testing and quarantine requirements for arrivals into the UK during the pandemic.
Arrivals from red list countries must stay in a quarantine hotel for 10 days at a cost of £2,285 for solo travellers.
During pre-Covid times, there were regular flights between all major UK airports and the Asian nation – with many people in the UK having relatives in the country and wanting it to be moved to the amber list.
People travelling from amber list countries, who have been fully vaccinated, are exempt from quarantine. Those who are not fully jabbed must self-isolate for 10 days and take two post-arrival PCR tests.
The letter to Sajid Javid has been signed by 16 MPs and Lord Khan of Burnley.
It says: “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.”
Quoting figures from August 23, the letter says Pakistan’s Covid positivity rate has reduced from 7.70% to 6.78% and its daily mortality rate has gone down from 77 deaths a day to 74.
It says other European countries such as Spain, Italy and Germany, have not placed Pakistan on their red lists and have put in place a home-based quarantine policy.
The letter continues: “The Government could have a policy whereby people can travel with negative PCR tests and World Health Organization-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.”
Other countries still on the UK’s red list include Mexico, Turkey and much of South America and Africa.