Monday September 27, 2021

UK govt doesn’t know when Pakistan will come off Red List

UK govt doesn’t know when Pakistan will come off Red List

LONDON: The UK government has told Pakistan that it has no idea at this stage when Pakistan will be taken off the travel Red List as the UK continues to work on its own programme to open up the country on 19th July to normal situation pre-Covid.

The News understands from sources in both the UK and Pakistan governments that the matter of Pakistan’s Red List travel ban was discussed when Prime Minister Imran Khan held talks with Lord Tariq Ahmed of Wimbledon, Minister for South Asia, who visited Pakistan last week.

It’s understood that the Pakistani government has been informed by the UK authorities that the travel ban is purely led by the data and no other considerations as India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and dozens of other countries are on the Red List too. The UK government, it is understood, will lift the travel restrictions only when the scientists advise it to do so. According to a source, the ban could continue till the end of this year or a minimum of three months or so from now.

The Government of Pakistan has conveyed to the UK government that Pakistan would like to come out of the list as soon as possible and the UK govt should set a timeline for it.

However, the UK govt has announced that Pakistan will be amongst the priority countries to benefit in the first phase of the New Variant Assessment Platform (NVAP). Other countries to benefit in the first badge will include Brazil, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria and Pakistan.

Public Health England said that the Platform aims to support countries to boost the capability and capacity to effectively identify, assess and track new SARS-CoV-2 variants among their population in order to increase regional capacity.

The NVAP was announced in January by the Department of Health and Social Care as a means for the UK to offer support to countries that lack the capability and capacity to effectively identify, assess and track new SARS-CoV-2 variants among their population.