The UK government on Friday moved Pakistan from its ‘red’ to ‘amber’ list, a categorisation devised for international travel amid the Covid-19 pandemic. All changes will come into effect on Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2021.
Bradford West MP Naz Shah was delighted at the news. “I appreciate the efforts made by the government in Pakistan to protect against the spread of Covid-19 and the measures that led to Pakistan being removed from the UK travel red list,” Naz said.
The news was also shared by British High Commissioner to Pakistan Christian Turner.
"Pleased to confirm Pakistan is off the red list. I know how difficult the last 5 months were for so many who rely on close links between the United Kingdom & Pakistan," he tweeted.
He said the UK "will continue to work closely with Pakistan to ensure data sharing and safeguard public health in both countries".
"No one is safe until everyone is safe."
Reacting to the development, Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives, Asad Umar, said "Good to know finally the right decision [has been] taken to take Pakistan off red list."
He appreciated the UK High Commission for its support for "conveying facts about the Covid situation in Pakistan".
The Red List allows only those to enter the UK if they are British or Irish nationals, or they have residence rights in the UK. Before their travel to England, the nationals must take a Covid-19 test, book a quarantine hotel package, including 2 Covid-19 tests as well as complete a passenger locator form.
On their arrival in England, they must quarantine in a managed hotel and have their coronavirus tests on or before day 2 and on or after day 8 of quarantine.
For passengers from countries on the Green List, they would need to take a coronavirus test, book and pay for another test to be taken after arrival in England and complete a passenger locator form. Upon their arrival, they must take a Covid-19 test and will not need to quarantine, unless their test comes out positive.
Passengers coming from countries on the Amber List will have to take the Covid-19 test in the 3 days before their travel to England, book for a Covid-19 test to be taken after arrival in England and complete the passenger locator form. They will be required to quarantine at home or in the place they are staying for 10 days and take a test on or before day 2 and on or after day 8.
During the last review, the UK government had promoted Canada, Denmark, Finland, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Switzerland, and the Azores into the green list while keeping Pakistan on the red list.
The UK government also promoted India along with Bahrain, Qatar, and the UAE to the amber list.
Over the last few weeks, Pakistan's government has engaged the UK authorities in an attempt to move out of the red list.
Earlier, responding to Pakistan's request to move the country out of the red list, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson had said that his government was reviewing Covid-19 statistics to mull over if the country could be removed from the ‘red list’.
Meanwhile, Pakistan had also responded to the UK's decision to keep it on the red list by sharing its data on its coronavirus response, testing rates, genomic surveillance, and other efforts being taken to stabilize the spread of the virus.
In a letter addressed to the UK's secretary of state for health, Pakistan's Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health Dr Faisal Sultan said that UK's decision to retain Pakistan on its red list while moving other regional countries to the amber list has been received with dismay.
Dr Sultan also pointed out that Pakistan's efforts in controlling the novel Covid-19 virus have been recognized by the World Health Organization and the United Nations General Assembly.
The World Economic Forum also celebrated 'Pakistan Strategy Day' to endorse Pakistan's strategy of handling the pandemic and the economy, the SAPM said.
In April, the UK government put Pakistan as well as India, Bangladesh, Kenya and the Philippines on the red list of countries.