HALF of the UK’s imported coronavirus cases originate from Pakistan, it has been reported.
More than 65,000 people travelled to Britain on 190 flights since March 1 from the South Asian country – most are believed to have British passports.
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Pakistan is reporting 4,000 new coronavirus cases a day and has seen a new spike in the killer bug since easing lockdown measures.
Data from Public Health England showed 30 cases of coronavirus in people who have travelled from Pakistan since June 4 and that figure is understood to represent half of the incidents of imported infection.
There are up to two flights a day from Pakistan and there have been reports of some arrivals going straight to hospital upon landing, The Daily Telegraph reported.
Officials are understood to be worried it could lead to a backlash against Britain as the country is preparing to open air bridges with European countries.
Likewise, British officials are worried that countries such as Portugal may be importing cases from Brazil.
A Whitehall Official told The Daily Telegraph: “We can’t take people off the list because they might import cases from their former colonies.
“Diplomatically we have to rate [them] to see actual uncontrolled spread. Imagine if people said that about the UK with our links to the US. We’d be fuming.”
British officials have also reportedly warned Pakistan’s government to bring in tighter controls on its flights amid a spike in cases.
Pakistan International Airlines, the national carrier, has been flying direct to and from the UK since early April.
At first it was to repatriate British and Pakistani nationals with up to a dozen trips a week.
In the past week the airline resumed more regular daily flights to London and Manchester.
A spokesman said passengers were screened in Pakistan with heat sensors and had to wear masks and anyone with a high temperature was not allowed to board.
Officials estimate there are around 100,000 British nationals in Pakistan – most of them hold both passports.
Around 25,000 British nationals were repatriated from Pakistan between April 4 and May 13 – almost all were British Pakistani.
A government spokesman said: “The new health measures at the border are informed by science, backed by the public and designed to keep us all safe.
“We are seeing a high level of compliance and we expect this to continue as the vast majority of people will play their part to help stop the spread of this disease.”
Bharat Pankhania, a quarantine expert at Exeter university’s medical school, said the Government needs to focus resources on screening those travelling from “high-risk” countries instead of implementing a “light-touch” quarantine.
Pakistan’s cricket team are set to arrive in the UK on Sunday ahead of playing England this summer.
All members who board the flight from Asia will be tested for coronavirus prior to travel and on arrival in the UK.
Ten Pakistani cricketers have tested positive in recent weeks, but anyone carrying the virus will not travel with the group this weekend.
The team will isolate for 14 days in Worcester before moving to Derby to ramp up their preparations to take on England in three Tests and three T20s.