BRITISH citizens stuck in Pakistan have called their situation ‘desperate’ after the country was added to the UK’s ‘red list’.

We can also reveal that some families are deciding to spend 10 days in Turkey before heading back to the UK, saving thousands of pounds on flights and quarantine costs.

Travel bans were introduced for visitors from the Philippines, Pakistan, Kenya and Bangladesh, the Department of Transport said.

From 4am tommorow, international visitors who have departed from or transited through those countries in the previous 10 days will be refused entry into the UK.

There were huge crowds at Pakistani airports as British citizens made a final dash to make it back to the UK before the deadline.

Earlier this week Shahzad Khan of Blackburn spoke to us. He left for Pakistan on March 17. He was due to return tomorrow but not before the ban comes into place.

He is unable to get an earlier flight.

Mr Khan said he had travelled to Pakistan for the completion of a house sale.

He said: “I am diabetic and my medicines are finishing and my second dose of vaccination is also due soon.

“My wife is disabled with severe arthritis and is alone with my little daughter at home. They need my help and care.

“I was not sure why Pakistan can be in the red list as cases are not that high. It should not be on the list at all.

“I have been quoted upwards of £1,800 for a ticket, which I cannot afford.”

British nationals from red list countries must quarantine in a government-approved hotel for 10 days if they arrive from Pakistan from today. Hotel stays for the period cost £1,750 per person and are paid for by the traveller.

Mr Khan added: “We can’t afford to pay those costs.”

Another man who travelled for a funeral said: “If we had any indication that Pakistan would be put on the red list then we would not have travelled. at all. This government just makes decisions on a random basis. All the flights are booked and I can’t afford to have four people in a hotel for ten days. That would cost me more than £7,000. My situation is desperate.

“Why is Pakistan on the banned list when other countries have higher rates of infection. It just not make sense?”

If you are required to quarantine in a quarantine hotel you can only arrive in England at certain ports of entry.

Currently these are: Heathrow Airport, Gatwick Airport, London City Airport, Birmingham Airport and Farnborough Airport.

Other travellers have been luckier.

Abdul Hussain said his wife from Blackburn managed to get a flight back for £1,100 to arrive at Heathrow this week ahead of ban.

He said: “We managed to get a British Airways flight back. She only went in late March and I am glad we managed to get a flight arranged.

“I have heard of another family from Blackburn who are back this week and paying up to £1,600 per ticket.”

Ihtisham Raja returned on Saturday to Heathrow Airport from Karachi after a five week stay. He did have to pay for a £210 for a test when he was back in the UK “I realised something wasn’t right last week and booked a flight for April 4. My ticket cost £400. Luckily it was the day of the announcement. I know other people and families who are unable to return. They either pay the £2000 for a ticket or they pay that money on the hotel stay when they are back. It is no win situation.

“The Covid situation is the same. All this talk of there being a major increase in cases was wrong.

“A lot of people are just getting on with their lives. There is no reason the country should be on the red list.”

Some families have looked to extend their holiday via Turkey. One family of six told us they were heading to Turkey and spending ten days in Istanbul.

A relative who did not wish to be named said: “It is perfectly legal to do so and I cannot see why others are not doing this.

“They fly into Turkey for £190 per ticket and spend a further £2000 for a family to stay at a quality hotel. Then head back to the UK after having stayed in Turkey for ten days.

“You still have to self-isolate at home but the whole trip costs £3500 rather than £8000 you would have to pay.”