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Thursday, May 23, 2024

UK: Pakistani mother separated from terminally ill daughter due to Covid

Ever since the Covid-19 pandemic, the global social structure has seen a significant collapse. Many countries have taken self-serving approaches, which has had dire consequences for migrants, students, and dual-nationality holders. This has been especially relevant in the case of Sabiha Waseem, a Pakistani-British citizen.

Sabiha Wasim took her daughter Umaiza, 13, to Pakistan to respite from Covid restrictions in the UK, but when Pakistan became a ‘red country,’ she was refused permission to quarantine back home in North Wales.

Instead, they were forced to quarantine in a hotel room, which did not have the equipment suitable to cater to her daughter’s needs. She was even forced to carry her daughter around despite having severe back problems of her own.

“My 13-year-old daughter Umaiza Wasim suffers from a life-limiting condition, namely mitochondrial disease, and is terminally ill.”

“Due to the Covid 19 last year we spent most of our time home and Umaiza and I became depressed.”

“We asked her doctors in March 2021 if we could go to Pakistan as we have our own home and extended family there that could help me look after Umaiza as looking after her on my own was taking its toll on me too, as I suffer from severe backache.”

Read More: Asad warns closure of wedding halls, hotels amid fourth COVID wave in Pakistan

She added: “We went quite happily on March 28 and were due to return on May 19. Whilst we were there on April 9 Pakistan became a UK red list country and our return flight got cancelled.”

Sabiha said she then started contacting UK test and trace to ask “if Umaiza could be exempt from the hotel quarantine and if we could quarantine at home instead.”

She continued: “After getting evidence from her specialist in Newcastle-upon-Tyne and from her paediatrician here in Bodelwyddan to describe her medical condition and need to quarantine at home, all I kept getting was ‘we need more evidence’.”

She added: “After giving them evidence for three times all I (still) kept getting was we need more evidence.”

The parent says Umaiza is dependent on her medication and that if she does not make it back to the UK on time, anything “untoward” could happen.


The teenager is PEG-fed and has a feeding tube in her stomach and requires special milk for her feeds again, something which she could only get in the UK and is also severely epileptic.

Read More: Covid-19 response in India and Pakistan

Sabiha said: “After not getting permission to be exempt, we came back to the UK on June 20.”

“Our (hotel) room had a king-size bed and an ensuite shower room. We were not allowed out, and the windows were locked.”

“After being in the same bed all day and night, Umaiza developed horrendous bedsores and severe leg pain.”

“Even though I suffer terribly from severe backache, I had to carry her to and from the toilet each time on my own, which could have easily been avoided if we were home as she has a commode there.”

Read More: World Bank to provide $20b for COVID-19 vaccine

“It was a nightmare for 10 days. We became even more depressed (through) the pain my poor daughter had to suffer and still is suffering due to lack of attention.”

She added: “I hope no one has to go through what I’m going through.”

The UK Government has to release any statement on the issue.