Saturday October 16, 2021

Family, arriving from red-listed Pakistan, gets UK quarantine exemption

LONDON: A Pakistani family has become the first in the United Kingdom to be granted an exemption from quarantining at a hotel on the basis of medical needs upon arrival from Pakistan.

Pakistan has been put on the UK’s red list — countries from which entry to the UK is banned to curb the spread of Covid-19. The exemption for the family was granted by the secretary of state for health and social care after Barrister Zahab Jamali approached the High Court for urgent consideration of the case of a disabled child, who has neuro-disability caused by Streptococcal Meningitis as a neonate. The medical condition causes developmental delay, learning difficulties and epileptic seizures. The nine-year-old’s father, Imran Khan, had filed the case on behalf of his son.

The child travelled to Pakistan with his mother on March 31, 2021, to attend a funeral. The family tried to book the tickets back to London but the UK decided to put Pakistan on the red list. According to the family, airfares to the UK had become unaffordable for them following the announcement. The family booked the tickets to reach London on the morning of April 27, 2021.

The court was informed that the child claimant is totally dependent on his mother due to his disability and would be unable to communicate his needs if he is made to undergo quarantine in the hotel. The move will have a serious detrimental impact on his emotional health and wellbeing, the claimants said.

The family wrote a letter to the National Health Service (NHS) on April 5, 2021, for the first time, following which at least a dozen more exchanges took place between the two parties but no help was offered for exemption. Yesterday, the claimant reached London Heathrow Airport and directly went home from there.