UK removes Pakistan from red list

08:30 PM | 17 Sep, 2021
UK removes Pakistan from red list

LONDON - The UK government has removed Pakistan from its red travel list, reports said on Friday. 

The British authorities have also removed Kenya, Oman, Sri Lanka, Egypt, Maldives, Turkey and Bangladesh from the list and all have been moved to the ROW list. 

The new policy will come into effect from September 24.

In August, the UK issued a revised travel policy and retained Pakistan on its red list as British authorities believed that Covid spread was much higher than the reported figures in the South Asian country.

The British health minister and other health and social care officials explained that testing and sequencing rates in Pakistan are relatively low (1.8 per 1,000 over the last seven days) and the recent decision was based on the recommendations made by the Joint Biosecurity Centre (JBC) which produces public health risk assessments.

Such lags in infection reporting mean it is not possible to know the full genomic makeup of their current wave, it said.

“The limited sequencing data from Pakistan suggest that they are currently experiencing a Delta wave, however, given the limitations in the available data, we could not be reassured that the outbreaks are due to known variants such as Delta, or if a novel cluster(s) of new or high-risk variants are developing and/or driving the epidemiology in Pakistan”, the letter reads.

It also mentioned that British authorities are engaging constructively with Pakistan to improve data availability and confidence and consequently our understanding of the current epidemiology within the country.