(Representative image: Reuters)
The United Kingdom will reopen on October 4 to air travellers who have been vaccinated with Covishield against COVID-19, said a government circular on September 22, easing pandemic-related restrictions on countries including India that were launched last year.
Formulations of four listed vaccines allowed include AstraZeneca Covishield, AstraZeneca Vaxzevria and Moderna Takeda, which qualify as approved vaccines, according to the travel circular.
Read | May impose reciprocal measures if UK doesn't recognize Covishield: Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla
A traveller must have had a complete course or two doses of an approved vaccine at least 14 days before arrival in England, it said.
But for Indian nationals, there is really no change since India was moved to a so-called amber list of guidelines on travel.
The UK has raised doubts over Indian COVID-19 vaccination certification process. Due to this, even travellers fully vaccinated with Covishield from India will need to quarantine in the UK on arrival under relaxed rules from October 4.
The UK divides countries as red, amber or green and applies quarantine and COVID-19 testing norms based on the category. India falls under the amber list.
Even if people are fully vaccinated, by being a part of the amber list, they must take a COVID-19 test on or before day 2 while travelling to the UK.
After travellers arrive in England, they must quarantine at home or in the place they are staying for 10 days. They are also required to take a COVID-19 test on or before day 2 and on or after day 8.
There are exemptions. People belonging to countries on the amber list need not quarantine if they are part of the UK vaccination programme or have received a jab from an approved vaccine in Europe or the US.
The Covishield approval comes after India on September 21 warned of "reciprocal measures" if the UK does not address its concerns over the new travel rules relating to COVID-19 vaccine certification with Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla describing these norms as "discriminatory".
Read: UK travel rule for India 'offensive', 'smacks of racism', say Congress' Tharoor and Ramesh
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar also took up the issue of Covishield-vaccinated travellers being required to quarantine in the UK with newly-appointed British Foreign Secretary Elizabeth Truss at a meeting in New York.
The revised rules had drawn sharp criticism in India with the opposition Congress urging the government to immediately intervene and ensure that there is no inconvenience faced by Indian travellers.
The British High Commission on Monday said it is engaging with India
to explore how it could expand recognition of Covid-19 vaccine certification issued by Indian authorities.