Coronavirus: Many Pakistanis cut short their stay due to UK’s red list restrictions

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Representational image of an aeroplane about to land. File photo 
  • Many Pakistanis will return by Thursday evening due to UK’s red list restrictions.
  • As many as 31,979 Pakistanis have travelled from the UK to Pakistan since January.
  •  A little over 10,000 of them would be able to land in the UK in 13 special flights of PIA and other routine flights.

ISLAMABAD: Many Pakistanis will return by Thursday evening after cutting short their stay in Pakistan due to the red list restrictions imposed by the United Kingdom amid the worsening COVID-19 situation in Pakistan, The News reported on Thursday.

The UK had imposed red list restrictions on Pakistan last week.

As many as 31,979 Pakistanis had travelled from the UK to Pakistan since January while ignoring stay-at-home orders from the British authorities, read the BBC report.

Read more: Asad Umar questions UK’s decision to include Pakistan in ‘red list’

Upon reaching Pakistan, they departed to different cities, mainly Mirpur (Azad Kashmir), Lahore, Gujar Khan, Gujranwala, and other areas.

According to the available data, a little over 10,000 of them would be able to land in the UK in 13 special flights of PIA and other routine flights of the British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, Turkish Airlines, and Gulf Airlines from April 4 to the evening of April 8 (Thursday) from Islamabad.

Hike in fares

Given the uncertain situation, the passengers are paying Rs226,000 to Rs257,000 one-way fare, which is more than double the formal fare for the economy class, to travel on PIA’s special flights, chartered by the national flag carrier.

However, a PIA official claimed that the fare at this particular time is much lower than that of other airlines.

On the other hand, British Airways and Virgin Atlantic are also taking the bulk of passengers from Pakistan to the UK by operating daily flights. 

The two airlines would also be operating at least three flights from Islamabad on Thursday.

After 4am on April 9, no Pakistani passenger unless holding British or Irish passports and residency permission would be allowed to land at the UK airports.

Those holding British or Irish passports and residency permission and reaching the UK after the deadline would have to stay in quarantine in any designated hotel for 10 days while paying 1,750 pounds per person charges.

The charges do not include 210 pounds charges on the COVID-19 tests fee per person. 

Read more: COVID-19: Despite low risk, UK to place Pakistan on its travel ban’s ‘red list’

The passengers violating the restriction of a 10-day stay in hotel rooms would be fined 10,000 pounds.

What are the restrictions?

The English government is due to add Pakistan to its “red list” of travel ban countries at 4am on Friday, April 9.

Government advice states that only residents of the UK or British and Irish nationals will be able to enter the UK if they have been to or travelled from Pakistan or the other 38 countries on the list. 

Those allowed in will have to pay to quarantine for 10 days in a government-approved hotel.

The rationale behind this controversial decision was “to protect the country against new variants of coronavirus,” according to the Department for Transport — the variants that came from South Africa (SA) and Brazil, in particular.


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