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No quarantine for fully vaccinated Indians travelling to UK: British envoy

The easing of norm will come into effect from October 11.

October 07, 2021 / 11:16 PM IST
A vial of the Oxford University-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, which is produced in India and marketed as Covishield (Image: Reuters)

A vial of the Oxford University-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, which is produced in India and marketed as Covishield (Image: Reuters)

Fully vaccinated Indians travelling to the United Kingdom will not be quarantined from October 11, the British High Commissioner to India, Alex Ellis, announced on October 7.

The easing of norms by the UK comes days after the Indian government imposed reciprocal travel curbs on British travellers arriving to the country.

Ellis, in a statement issued on social media, said, "No quarantine for Indian travellers to UK fully vaccinated with Covishield or another UK-approved vaccine from 11 October. Thanks to Indian government for close cooperation over last month."

The decision to relax the norms will benefit "Indian businessmen and students", the British envoy noted.

Notably, a diplomatic row had erupted between India and the UK, after the latter announced last month that all Indian travellers, irrespective of their vaccination status, would be considered as unvaccinated and would have to undergo a mandatory quarantine of 10 days.

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Indian Foreign Secretary HV Shringla had condemned the norms announced by the UK, pointing out that the Covishield vaccine - which India has administered to a majority of its citizens - is the same AstraZeneca vaccine which has been included in the mass inoculation drive in Britain.

After New Delhi's protest, the UK had, on September 22, announced that Covishield has been included in the list of approved vaccines. However, India was still put on the stringent amber list of guidelines on travel, which made quarantine mandatory for travellers arriving from the country.

The UK divides countries as red, amber or green and applies quarantine and COVID-19 testing norms based on the category.

Even if people are fully vaccinated, by being a part of the amber list, they must take a COVID-19 test before while travelling to the UK. They are also required to undergo mandatory quarantine upon arrival.

The inclusion of India in the amber list was being attributed to the non-recognition of CoWin vaccination certificate by the UK.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while addressing the Global COVID-19 Summit virtually on September 22, noted that the "mutual recognition of vaccine certificates" is necessitated to ease international travel.

Notably, the reciprocal travel curbs on the UK were imposed on October 1, days after New Delhi had warned of such a measure if the norms were not eased for Indian travellers.

The curbs include a 10-day quarantine for all British nationals arriving to the country, irrespective of their vaccination status.

Till October 5, the Indian authorities had reportedly sent 162 out of 539 people who arrived from the UK to mandatory home quarantine.

The curbs also include mandatory pre-departure COVID-19 RT-PCR test to be conducted within 72 hours before travel. The UK nationals are to be tested again upon their arrival at the airports, and another RT-PCR test is to be conducted on the eighth day after their arrival.

With the UK now easing the norms for vaccinated Indians, India is expected to reciprocate and roll back the stringent curbs that were announced for all British travellers.
Moneycontrol News
first published: Oct 7, 2021 10:20 pm

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