COVID-19: Pak minister irked over Britain's travel ban on its nationals

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Representative image
Representative image

Islamabad [Pakistan], April 3 (ANI): A cabinet minister of the Imran Khan government on Saturday expressed displeasure at Britain's decision to place four more nations, including Pakistan, on the "red list" of countries whose nationals are not allowed to enter the United Kingdom.

The ban announced on Friday will come into effect from April 9. Britain had said that the decision to add Bangladesh, Kenya, Pakistan and the Philippines to the list was based on advice from public health experts.

Questioning the merit of this decision, Pakistan's Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar said that the recent decision to include Pakistan on the 'red list' raises the question, whether the choice of countries is based on "science or foreign policy."

"Every country has a right to take decisions to safeguard the health of their citizens. However, the recent decision by the UK government to add some countries, including Pakistan, on the 'red list' raises a legitimate question whether the choice of countries is based on science or foreign policy," said Asad Umar, as quoted by Dawn.

Umar also shared a letter written by British MP Naz Shah to British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab dated March 30, prior to restrictions being announced.

Shah, in her letter, had said asked that "what scientific data is any decision being led by." "It must also be noted that the South African variant isn't a concern in Pakistan whereas this isn't the case for example in France and other countries. This begs the question why hasn't the government extended the red list to France, Germany, and India?" the British MP had questioned.

Amid growing concerns over the spread of COVID-19, Britain on Friday said it would add four more countries to its travel ban unless they are British or Irish nationals.

The UK government said in a statement: "From 4 am on April 9, Pakistan, Kenya, the Philippines and Bangladesh will be put on the list, the government said, joining about three dozen other nations mainly in Africa, the Middle East and South America."

British High Commissioner Christian Turner had informed that only the UK/Irish nationals and those with residency rights will be allowed to travel from to and from 04:00 (UK time) on Friday, April 9.

"Anyone arriving into England after that will have to book a managed quarantine hotel in advance," Turner had tweeted.

Those who come to Britain from countries on the red list will be refused entry while returning Britons must submit to 10 days of mandatory quarantine in hotels, Dawn reported. (ANI)