British MPs call out government’s move to place India on amber list

Aug 5, 2021: British MPs on Thursday criticized the UK government’s “callous” decision to put Pakistan on its “red list” for international travel, while India is now in the “Amber List” despite a deteriorating covid19 situation.

The UK operates a “traffic light” system for international travel, in which low-risk countries are given green status for quarantine-free travel, medium-risk countries are given amber status, and those arriving in red countries are given 10 days of quarantine and need to spend time isolated in a hotel.

Pakistan was placed on the red list in early April, followed by India on April 19 due to the rising number of cases and the diversity of the Delta. India, along with Bahrain, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, will be moved to the Amber List from August 8 in an update of the travel lists issued by the British government.

 

Bradford West MP Naz Shah said she was “surprised” by the move, adding that this was not the first time the UK had shown a “critical attitude” in handling its quarantined traffic light system.

She questioned why Pakistan is still on the red list when its seven-day infection is 20 per 100,000 in India compared to 14 per 100,000 people and “far less than the vast majority of amber list destinations”.

Shah said, “The last time this government preferred political rather than science and jeopardized our nation’s cowardly efforts, it failed to put India on the red list,” he said. “Because of this, the Delta variant has become the most prominent variant in the UK.”

 

Calling the decision “unacceptable”, she vowed to raise the issue further. Bolton Southeast MP Yasmeen Qureshi also noted that Pakistan was on the UK travel red list despite being “low risk”.

 

She said she had questioned the government and tried to resolve the issue but to no avail. She said that the UK government was trying to punish Pakistan in favor of possible economic benefits.”This is clear and blatant discrimination against Pakistan”.

She tweeted, “To add insult to injury, the hotel’s quarantine cost will increase between £ 450 and £ 800 to a total of 2,200.”

She said she was writing a letter to UK’s Transport Minister Grant Shapps on the matter.

Luton North’s Labor MP, Sawah Owen, also said it was difficult to understand the rationale behind the latest changes.

“When you see figures like this, Tory ministers have a lot of explaining to do as to why India is going amber yet Pakistan and other countries remain red,” she said.

“Decisions made in isolation without any scrutiny are never good for the people we want to represent. These decisions have great health [and] personal consequences,” she tweeted.

Pakistan’s Federal Human Rights Minister Shireen Mazari also blasted the UK government’s decision and accused it of “playing politics” and targeting Pakistan.

“I stated in April this year that the UK government was playing politics on Covid restrictions when they put Pakistan on the red list two weeks before India despite the Covid management disaster in India as opposed to Pakistan’s good management raised internationally,” she said.

Posting a mortality comparison in the week leading up to August 1 between the two countries, she said “there was no scientific reason for this discrimination”.

“Only politics coming into play again ,UK cabinet showing clear political proclivity towards India. Unfortunate indeed,” she tweeted.

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