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U.K. Restricts Travel from Pakistan

by Newsweek Pakistan

File photo. Farooq Naeem—AFP

British High Commissioner to Pakistan Christian Turner says red listing of Pakistan will go into effect from April 9

The United Kingdom on Friday announced that it was placing Pakistan on its “red list” of travel bans in view of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, with the new restrictions set to come into effect on April 9.

“Red listing means that only U.K. and Irish nationals and those with residency rights in the U.K. will be allowed to travel to the U.K. if they’ve been in Pakistan in the 10 days before they arrive,” announced British High Commissioner to Pakistan Christian Turner in a video message posted on Twitter. The British government’s foreign travel advice for Pakistan said that the restrictions would also apply on anyone transiting through Pakistan in the 10 days prior to their arrival in the U.K.

“As you know, the U.K. government has been keeping its border measures under close review because of COVID-19. Today, it is announced that Pakistan has been added to the U.K.’s red list of travel ban countries,” said Turner. While direct flights between the countries would continue, he said, anyone traveling from Pakistan to the U.K. after April 9 would be required to “pay to stay in mandatory hotel quarantine for 10 days after they arrive.”

Turner stressed that anyone who was traveling into the U.K. from Friday, April 9, would be required to pre-book hotels for their quarantine, adding that this was necessary before they commence their journey. “I know how unwelcome this news will be for all of you and for so many of the British-Pakistani community that is bedrock of our strong relationship,” he said. “Please stay safe, stay well, and keep following the COVID-19 SOPs in these difficult times,” he added.

According to the U.K. Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office’s travel advisory for Pakistan, British nationals should avoid all but essential travel to Pakistan “based on the current assessment of COVID-19 risks.”

In addition to Pakistan, the Philippines, Kenya and Bangladesh have also been added to the U.K.’s red list of travel bans. In a statement, the U.K. government said the measures were necessary to help reduce the risk of new variants from entering England.

Pakistan is currently in the midst of a third wave of the coronavirus pandemic, with the majority of new cases being of a variant that originated in the U.K. last year, according to the National Command and Operation Center. Last month, Islamabad placed the U.K. in category B of countries, travelers from which are required to produce a negative PCR test secured no earlier than 72 hours prior to commencement of their journey to Pakistan.

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