Imran Khan
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan urges the need to lift coronavirus related international travel restrictions imposed on Pakistan and other developing countries. Image Credit: Twitter/PMO

Dubai: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has urged the need to remove travel restrictions imposed on developing countries calling them ‘discriminatory’.

Imran called on the World Health Organisation (WHO) to play its role in removing coronavirus related travel restrictions for Pakistan and other developing countries. He asked the WHO Director General to engage member states to remove COVID-19 related travel restrictions and work towards a data driven system of non-discriminatory travel rules.

Imran’s demand comes during a video conference with WHO Director General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Monday.

Economic impact

Prime Minister Imran observed that travel restrictions imposed by the developed countries in the wake of COVID-19 could further exacerbate economic difficulties of developing countries struggling to mitigate adverse economic impact of the pandemic.

Currently, Pakistanis are not allowed to enter UK and European Union countries due to grave COVID-19 situation in Pakistan.

Imran, however, appreciated the support extended by WHO to the international community including Pakistan to fight COVID-19.

He also highlighted Pakistan’s strategy of deploying scientific and data driven interventions as well as rapid upgrades of healthcare facilities while attempting to maintain a balance between life and livelihood that had yielded positive results with a current downward trajectory in the spread of pandemic.

WHO hails Pakistan's efforts

The WHO director general said that the WHO was working to suggest Covid-19 related travel guidelines to help the international community in making these decisions.

“WHO is glad to see that cases in Pakistan have been in decline since early June & we appreciate your strong surveillance efforts to fight the pandemic,” tweeted Dr Tedros.

As of July 6, coronavirus tally in Pakistan stands at 234,498 cases with total 4839 deaths and 135,000 recoveries.

British High Commissioner

Meanwhile, the British High Commissioner to Pakistan has commended Pakistan’s efforts in addressing COVID-19 challenge. “The way Pakistan had addressed the COVID-19 challenge was really commendable and the country was a role model in this context,” said British High Commissioner to Pakistan Christian Turner, in a meeting with Minister for Information and Broadcasting Senator Shibli Faraz on Monday. Turner said effective communication and care were the real weapons in the fight against COVID-19 pandemic, reported the APP.

Tourism sector opened

Earlier, Prime Minister Imran announced the reopening of tourism industry in the country and allowed all overseas Pakistanis to return home after the National Coordination Committee gave the go-ahead to self-quarantine policy for Covid-19 patients among them.

“We are opening tourism, because these three to four months are important for the people associated with tourism,” he announced but warned people to follow the SOPs devised by the government.

Imran said that the coronavirus would continue to spread and like other nations, Pakistanis would have to live with it at least until the year-end. “Even the richest countries have come to the conclusion that the virus will spread and our death toll will also rise. My appeal to you is please be a responsible nation, because we have to prevent the spread of virus and also avoid poverty and misery,” he added.