British MP condemns UK government’s decision to curtail travel from Pakistan

MP Shah said the decision to include Pakistan in the ‘red list’ led her to conclude that the government did not have a coherent strategy to deal with the list and that it was applying its decisions by “politics not data”

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LONDON: A British Labour MP has criticised the UK government’s decision to curtail travel from Pakistan in view of Covid-19 cases, dubbing the move “consciously and knowingly discriminatory”.

Bradford West MP Naz Shah wrote a letter to UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, asking for an explanation about why Pakistan was added to the ‘red list’ when it has “substantially lower cases” as compared to France, India and Germany.

“What scientific data is any decision being led by?” she wrote, noting that France, Germany and India had 403, 137 and 24 infections per 100,000 persons, respectively, whereas Pakistan had 13.

She pointed out that the South African variant was not a concern in Pakistan whereas “it is in France”. “This begs the question why hasn’t the government extended the red list to France, Germany and India”.

Letter prompts Asad Umar to question whether UK decision is based on science or foreign policy

Her letter came after the UK said Pakistan was on the list of countries from where travelers would have to pay to quarantine in a government-approved hotel effective April 9.

Passengers from Pakistan will be denied entry to the UK unless they are British or Irish nationals or have residency rights. The cost for one adult in a hotel room for 10 days is £1,750, which does not include the mandatory £210 each passenger has to pay for testing in this period.

The announcement came as Pakistan’s National Command and Control Centre (NCOC) for Covid-19 reported over 5,000 new cases in the previous 24 hours, with over 80 deaths. The government has been criticised for low testing and a slow vaccination drive, and officials have warned that the third wave of the disease is yet to peak.

 

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