Yasmin Qureshi, 16 other
MPs again ask Govt to remove
Pakistan from painful “Red List”

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Barrister Yasmin Qureshi MP, Chair of the APPG Pakistan

LONDON: Highlighting the significance and importance of “Red List” issue, Labour MP Barrister Yasmin Qureshi has once again drawn the attention of Sajid Javid MP, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care to take action in this regard and remove Pakistan from painful “Red List”.

In a letter on August 24, Yasmin Qureshi, Chair of the APPG Pakistan and Rehman Chishti MP, Co-Chair of the APPG Pakistan along with Debbie Abrahams MP, Tahir Ali MP, Apsana Begum MP, Liam Byrne MP, Andrew Gwynne MP, Rupa Huq MP, Afzal Khan MP, Sarah Owen MP, Naz Shah MP, Zarah Sultana MP, Sam Tarry MP, Imran Hussain MP, Khalid Mahmood MP, Mohammad Yasin MP and Lord Wajid Khan of Burnley have highlighted the issue asking to take appropriate action for the remedy of suffering Pakistanis.

They said that thank you so much for taking time out of your annual leave to speak to me about regarding Pakistan’s Red List status – a conversation which outlined the Government’s reasoning behind the decision, and also for your letter dated 11 August which reiterated the position in more specific detail.

Rehman Chishti MP, Co-Chair of the APPG Pakistan

This letter is supplementary to my letter to you dated 12 August, which was co-signed by parliamentary colleagues.

Since we last spoke, my Parliamentary colleagues and I have been in regular contact with Ministers and Officials from Pakistan regarding their management of the pandemic. They are acutely aware of the severity of the coronavirus crises and, from their response, it is obvious that they are fully aware of the gravity of the situation, even down to the amount of oxygen being used in hospitals and have acted to ensure that measures are implemented to control the spread of coronavirus within Pakistan.

Pakistan’s genome sequencing results confirmed that the Delta variant is dominant in Pakistan, and accounts for over 90% of positive coronavirus cases – this is also the dominant variant in the United Kingdom. There is no other variant of concern identified in Pakistan.

Other countries in Western Europe, such as Spain, Italy, and Germany, have not placed Pakistan on their travel Red List and have implemented a home-based quarantine policy. Germany considers India to be a country which has a variant of concern.

Your letter expresses disquiet over the lack of data provided to the GISAID, although my understanding is that the necessary data has already been provided to GISAID and that the Government of Pakistan intends to ensure that the data is regularly provided to GISAID.

Here are some top level figures as of 23 August 2021:

First page of the letter

Pakistan’s positivity rate: reduced from 7.70% to 6.78% (a total decline of 12%)

Daily average cases: reduced from 4404 to 3629 (a total decline of 18%)

Daily mortality: reduced from 77 deaths a day to 74.

Keeping Pakistan in the Red List is causing grievous suffering to so many people within the diaspora who have been unable to see family members, particularly parents who are seriously ill, as well as separating spouses and children.

Second page of the letter

The Government could have a policy whereby people can travel with negative PCR tests and World Health Organisation-approved vaccines (of which the majority in Pakistan are). The arriving passenger could then quarantine – rather than pay a punitive amount of money to isolate in sub-standard hotels.

I urge you once again to reconsider Pakistan’s travel status and move it to the Amber List with the imposition of necessary requirements to overcome any concerns of our British Government.