Ministry of Planning
Development & Special Initiatives
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Press Release

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The acting British High Commissioner Ms. Alison Blackburne called on the Federal Minister for Planning Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar

Dated : 17 August 2021

The acting British High Commissioner Ms. Alison Blackburne called on the Federal Minister for Planning Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar here in Islamabad on Tuesday. The recent decision by the Uk government to retain Pakistan in the Red List was discussed during the meeting.

Minister for Planning Asad Umar shared with the High Commissioner, details of Pakistan’s strategy to combat the pandemic, which had helped the country in saving lives and livelihoods in accordance with the vision of the Prime Minister. He said that Pakistan has no interest in allowing those who pose a health risk to other societies to travel abroad. He further said that Pakistan's overall track record of managing the epidemic was much better than certain other countries which are part of the UK’s Amber List. It was highlighted that the details of samples sequenced during July-August 2021 have been shared with WHO and regular updates are also being shared. The genomic sequencing being performed confirms the Delta (Indian) variant to be the dominant strain in Pakistan and while the Beta variant has been sporadically detected, its prevalence is no longer greater than the global average. He said that Pakistan could share the results of its data in real-time with the UK if it helps to provide better insights.

While discussing testing rates, Minister said that most of the tests are PCR tests done by laboratories connected to the national dashboard either directly or via Provincial dashboards. The authenticity of the Pakistan statistics has been recognized by international partners.


Asad Umar said that while all the countries in the world have worked hard to build and enhance their public health system, our shed objective is a reduction of risk that comes via international travel, and we hope that the UK government will remove Pakistan from the red list as soon as possible.

British High Commissioner Ms. Alison Blackburne appreciated Pakistan's efforts to tackle the pandemic and to stabilize Pakistan’s economy. She said the UK has a great interest in Pakistan but due to the pandemic, the activities were restricted. “Still we are doing what we can. We hope things will improve soon,” she added.