The British Government has said that it decided to keep Pakistan on the travel ban red list because the true number of COVID-19 cases is likely to be much higher than reported across Pakistan, a leaked letter written by Britain’s health minister revealed Sunday.
In the letter, Britain’s Health Minister Lord James Nicholas Bethell and the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Innovation from the Department of Health and Social Care explained in detail that Pakistan’s testing and sequencing rates are relatively low (1.8 per 1,000 over the last seven days) and lower testing and sequencing mean it is not possible to know the full genomic makeup of their current wave. Therefore, they said that the true number of cases is likely to be much higher than reported.
“The national testing rate varies considerably across regions. For example, in Punjab — Pakistan’s most densely populated region — with the highest number of active cases, testing is below Pakistan’s average rate and is the second-lowest in the country,” Lord Bethell wrote to Yasmin Qureshi MP, the Chair of All Parties Parliamentary Group on Pakistan.”—INP