Labour MP condemns ‘racist’ story in UK paper suggesting half of country’s imported cases are from Pakistan

LONDON: British newspaper The Telegraph has claimed “half” of the country’s whole imported coronavirus cases are from Pakistan, after utilizing solely 30 cases since June four as the idea for the declare.

The front-page unique by The Telegraph titled “Half of UK’s imported Covid-19 infections are from Pakistan” has based mostly the story on information gathered from Public Health England (PHE).

“Data from Public Health England (PHE) shows 30 cases of coronavirus in people who have travelled from Pakistan since June 4, which is understood to represent half of the incidents of imported infection,” learn the report.

More than 65,000 folks have travelled from Pakistan to Britain on 190 flights since March 1.

Labour MP Naz Shah, who serves because the Member of Parliament from Bradford West, instantly condemned the “sensational” and “misleading” headline.

“Last week I used to be informed to return to Pakistan, as we speak we have now articles like this. Any marvel why we nonetheless have P*** bashing. Only 30 cases got here from Pakistan since 4th June.”

The MP argued that the headline and story had racist undertones, unfairly shifting the blame of UK’s cases on Pakistan.

The identical information was picked up by different information retailers, The Sun and The Daily Mail to argue that 50% of imported cases got here from Pakistan.

Dr Khurram Mushtaq Gardezi, a heart specialist based mostly at Imperial College Healthcare Trust London, and a researcher from University of Oxford, strongly refuted these baseless claims.

Dr Gardezi mentioned that the UK has the second-highest mortality from COVID-19 in the world, solely behind the USA. He mentioned: “Taking this into account, most of the world’s countries, including European countries, have therefore put travel restrictions for British travellers instead. Such baseless claims are likely to create more problems for British travellers.”

Dr Gardezi additionally criticised “right-wing lobbyists” making an attempt to take benefit of the worldwide pandemic and utilizing it to advertise their hidden racist and Islamophobic agenda.

Replying to a request for remark by Geo.television, Charles Hymas who’s the creator of this story and likewise the Home Affairs editor of The Telegraph, mentioned that the publication didn’t have any additional proof or information to again their claims.

Hymas mentioned: “It is based on our understanding of PHE (Public Health England) data. The only information they are providing publicly is that figure.”

It is vital to notice that whereas the British media has been criticising repatriation flights from Pakistan, it was the British authorities and the British High Commission in Islamabad which organized repatriation flights from Pakistan. Qatar Airways was chosen for these flights, with the Pakistani authorities facilitating the British authorities in regard to the permissions for these flights.

It can also be pertinent to say that by May 7, the day of the final repatriation flight, Pakistan solely had 24,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases with 585 deaths whereas the UK had 206,000 cases, 10 instances greater than Pakistan, and 30,000 deaths, 50 instances greater than Pakistan.

The UK didn’t display screen or quarantine the passengers arriving from varied international locations till June.

Commenting on the data offered to The Telegraph, a spokesman for Public Health England informed Geo.television it had shared the background info with The Telegraph.

The spokesman mentioned: “Since 4th June, there have been a small quantity of cases (approx. 30) detected in the UK with current journey historical past from Pakistan. This will not be distinctive to the UK and different international locations have additionally not too long ago reported the detection of cases with current journey to Pakistan. Upon detection of any imported cases, the PHE worldwide contact tracing crew follows up any shut contacts together with on flights and in the UK.”

“Where there could also be contacts in the originating nation, info is handed on to the respective nation beneath the International Health Regulations (2005) in order to facilitate observe up of contacts in that nation,” he mentioned.

The spokesman mentioned that travel-related COVID-19 cases are not sudden as response measures are relaxed globally and worldwide journey resumes.

“With regard to the cases from Pakistan, PHE shared info with Pakistan via the National Focal Point and with the FCO and the British High Commissioner in Pakistan to tell wider discussions with the Government of Pakistan,” he mentioned.

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