Yasmin Qureshi, chair of the All Parties Parliamentary Group on Pakistan, and Naz Shah, MP for Bradford West, criticised the British government for maintaining Pakistan on the red list while eliminating India, Qatar, and other nations.
India, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Qatar were moved from the red to the amber list by the British government, while Pakistan was left off. Returnees who are on the amber travel list may quarantine at home rather than at a hotel.
Coronavirus rates in Pakistan were estimated to be about 4,500 per day, five times lower than in the UK, according to British MPs Yasmin Qureshi and Naz Shah, while instances in India, where the delta variation originated and triggered Britain’s third wave, were estimated to be over 40,000 per day.
Pakistan has done pretty well in comparison to its neighbours and has managed to escape a lockdown, according to Yasmin Qureshi.
The Chair of the APPG Pakistan said, “I am dismayed at the government’s decision to keep Pakistan on the travel red list whilst removing other countries in the Middle East and South Asia region. Pakistan has no variant of concern reported and cases remain relatively low when compared with India and the UK yet is punished unnecessarily.”
“These changes point to one thing and one thing only – government politicking. The government has opted to remove India now to best prepare them for trade negotiations and is not based on data nor science.”
She said, “These travel restrictions are wreaking havoc with people across the United Kingdom. The Pakistani diaspora totals around 1.1mn in the UK and I have been inundated with a correspondence which details students unable to access their courses because of punitive and extortionate quarantine costs and children unable to see their often sick parents and grandparents.”
Labour MP for Bradford West Naz Shah said, “The last time this govt favoured political choices rather than science and risked our nation’s Covid efforts, it failed to place India on the Red list.”
“That led to the Delta Variant becoming the most prominent Covid variant in the UK. Whilst families have been forced away from loved ones for months, it is unacceptable for decisions to be made in such ways,” she added.