Visa Crunch

United Kingdom scraps quarantine clause for fully-jabbed Indian visitors

The British High Commissioner to India, Alex Ellis, tweeted, that “from 11 October, there will be no quarantine for India visitors to the UK who are fully vaccinated with Covishield or another UK-approved vaccine.”

Indians who have been fully immunized with Covishield (Oxford–AstraZeneca) or any other UK-approved vaccine will not be quarantined when they land in the United Kingdom starting October 11, the High Commissioner to India announced on October 8, putting an end to a sequence of controversies over the imposition of Covid-19 quarantine rules, which were seen as unjustified by the Indian government.

“From October 11, there will be no quarantine for Indian visitors to the United Kingdom who are completely vaccinated with Covishield or another UK-approved vaccine. Thank you to the Indian government for your close collaboration over the last month”, tweeted the diplomat.

India enacted a mandatory 10-day quarantine for British people irrespective of vaccination status on October 1 in reaction to UK quarantine laws for Indians and citizens of many countries, including those vaccinated with UK-approved Covishield. The UK government has been chastised for refusing to recognize tourists as vaccinated unless they had their injections in a few specific countries, which has been described as discriminatory and even “colonialist.”

“I’m also making changes so visitors to England have fewer entry requirements,” Britain’s Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps tweeted. “I’m recognizing those with fully-vax status from 37 new countries and territories, including India, Turkey, and Ghana, and treating them the same as the UK fully-vaccinated passengers.” The decision was reached after close technical cooperation between our ministries and consideration of public health factors, a spokesperson for the British High Commission said in a statement on Thursday.

The UK, according to the statement, is constantly reviewing efficacy data and information on vaccine deployment worldwide, as well as visa restrictions, in order to keep borders open while progressively and safely resuming travel. If a person has not been fully vaccinated with one of the four UK-recognised vaccines – Oxford/AstraZeneca, Pfizer BioNTech, Moderna, and Janssen – or any formulation of these vaccines, including Covishield, they should take a pre-departure test, a Covid-19 test on or before day 2 and on or after day 8, and self-isolate for ten days.

India’s foreign secretary, Harsh Shringla, termed the UK laws “discriminatory” and warned that “reciprocal action” would be required. After high-level meetings, British authorities stated that the problem was not with the vaccine, but with India’s “vaccination certification” process, and the two sides reported “progress” invalidating each other’s certifications. According to Dr RS Sharma, CEO of India’s National Health Authority, certification following coronavirus vaccinations in India is a centralized national system controlled by the CoWIN app and portal, and the platform has “no difficulties” and is fully consistent with WHO criteria.

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