Engaging with India on vaccine certification recognition: UK reacts to reciprocal move
The UK has said it is “continuing to engage” with India on technical cooperation to expand its recognition of vaccine certification after New Delhi decided to impose reciprocal measures on British nationals. UK nationals arriving in the country from Britain will have to undergo mandatory quarantine at home or in the destination address for 10 days after their arrival. "The UK is continuing to work on expanding the policy to countries and territories across the globe in a phased approach. We are continuing to engage with the Government of India on technical cooperation to expand UK recognition of vaccine certification to people vaccinated by a relevant public health body in India," the British High Commission spokesperson said in a statement according to news agency ANI.
According to the spokesperson, the United Kingdom is open to travel and they are seeing a lot of people going from India to the UK, be it tourists, business people or students. "Over 62,500 student visas have been issued in the year ending June 2021, which is an increase of almost 30% as compared to the previous year. We want to make the process of travelling as easy as possible,” the spokesperson added.
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India’s decision came days after the UK announced new travel rules under which Indian travellers, even those who have received both doses of the Covishield vaccine, will be considered unvaccinated. Covishield is the Indian variant of Britain’s AstraZeneca vaccine.
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The new British rules state that AstraZeneca Covishield is among vaccines that qualify as approved but India is not yet on the list of 17 countries mentioned. Formulations of the four listed vaccines, such as AstraZeneca Covishield, AstraZeneca Vaxzevria and Moderna Takeda, qualify as approved vaccines, according to the 'changes to international travel rules’. Indians travelling to the UK will have to undergo a 10-day quarantine under new British travel rules that come into force from October 4. The mandatory quarantine will have to be done at home or at the destination address.
Last month, India said that it will be within its rights to take reciprocal measures against UK's "discriminatory" move to recognise AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine but not Covishield if the issue is not satisfactorily resolved.
From October, all UK nationals travelling to India will also have to undergo a pre-departure Covid-19 RT-PCR test within 72 hours before travel, another RT-PCR test on arrival at the airport, and an RT-PCR test on the eighth day after arrival. They will also have to quarantine at home or at their destination address for 10 days, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to talk to reporters. The health and civil aviation ministries will take steps to implement the new measures.