India makes 10-day quarantine must for all UK travellers, despite vaccination
The new regulations will come into effect from October 4 when the UK government is also implementing its new travel regulations which do not exempt Covishield-vaccinated Indians from mandatory quarantine.
India has announced a mandatory 10-day quarantine for all travellers coming to the country from the United Kingdom, irrespective of their vaccination status, people familiar with the development said. The measures come in response to the UK government's latest travel rules where Covishield is an approved vaccine against Covid-19 but India's vaccine certificate is not recognised. India's stern measure comes after the Indian government warned of ‘reciprocal measures’ to the UK government's differential treatment of India's vaccination.
Despite their vaccination status, all passengers from the United Kingdom will have to undergo a mandatory quarantine upon arrival in India. In addition, they will need to produce the result of the RT-PCR test done within 72 hours before travel. After their arrival and on day 8, they will have to take the RT-PCR tests again. The mandatory quarantine can be done at home or at the destination address. These new rules are exactly in line with UK's travel rules.
The UK government recently revised its travel guidelines to be effective from October 4 and initially did not mention Covishield in the list of its approved vaccines. Then it included Covishield in the list but did not give approval to CoWin certificate which testifies the vaccination status of someone who has received the jab in India. This brings doubly vaccinated Indians travelling to the UK to the status of unvaccinated travellers and all alike will have to undergo quarantine in the UK if the vaccine certificate is not accepted.
Several rounds of meetings took place between Indian and UK representatives and one was attended by National Health Authority chairman RS Sharma and UK high commissioner Alex Ellis. After the meeting, both expressed satisfaction and said there seems to be no problem regarding Covishield or the certificate. Reports said India is mulling to add the full date of birth on the certificate for people travelling abroad.
However, the 'reciprocal' move indicates that the issue over Covishield has not been resolved.
India strongly condemned the move of the UK government as it clarified that there is no problem with either the Covishield vaccine or the vaccine certificate. Covishield is a formulation of the Oxford-Astrazeneca vaccine which India also exported to the UK and the certificate conforms to all standards stipulated by the World Health Organization, the government said.
As the health ministry will enforce the new guideline specific to UK travellers, all states and UTs that have international airports and thereby may receive flights from the UK have been alerted. The integrated disease surveillance programme Officers in the States have been informed because they will be monitoring the home quarantine and the 8th day test. All port health organisations and Airport health organisations have been informed as they will also be a critical part of the implementation at the entry level.
(With inputs from Bureau)