Britain has added Bangladesh, Kenya, Pakistan and the Philippines to its travel “red list”, banning entry to people arriving from these countries from April 9 unless they are British or Irish nationals.
British High Commissioner to Pakistan ,Christian Turner made the announcement on Twitter on Friday.
Those who come to Britain from countries on the red list will be refused entry, while returning Britons must submit to 10 days of mandatory quarantine in hotels.
In his message, Turner said that direct flights between Pakistan and the UK would continue to operate but schedules could change.
During their quarantine, people from red list countries will have to get tested for the coronavirus twice. However, a negative test result does not mean they will be allowed to shorten the time they stay under quarantine, according to the BBC.
From 4am on April 9, Pakistan, Kenya, the Philippines and Bangladesh will be put on the list, the British government said, joining about three dozen other nations mainly in Africa, the Middle East and South America.
Other countries included on the list are Angola, Argentina, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Burundi, Cape Verde, Chile, Colombia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ecuador, Eswatini, Ethiopia, French Guiana, Guyana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Oman, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Qatar, Rwanda, Seychelles, Somalia, South Africa, Suriname, Tanzania, UAE, Uruguay, Venezuela, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
There have been calls for the inclusion of some European countries where Covid-19 cases have surged, but the government has said it currently has no plans to do so.
The UK has also banned its own citizens from travelling abroad for leisure.
Meanwhile, the third wave of the coronavirus in Pakistan has been intensifying over the last few weeks with daily cases reaching levels last seen in June and July of 2020.
During the last 24 hours, the SouthAsian country has reported 5,234 cases. This is the highest number of cases reported so far this year, and the highest since June 20, 2020, when 5,948 cases were recorded.
The total number of cases in the country is 678,165. Deaths have risen to 14,613 after 83 fatalities were reported during the last 24 hours.
Government officials have blamed the UK variant of Covid-19 for the third wave, with Minister for Planning and Development Asad Umar saying there was “no doubt” that the third wave had started in the country and the spread of the UK variant was the reason behind it.