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India retorts, makes 10-day quarantine must for UK travellers irrespective of vaccine status

Besides, mandatory quarantine, British nationals will also have to get a pre-departure RT-PCR test, one on arrival and a third one 8 days after landing in India.

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New Delhi: From 4 October, all British nationals arriving in India will have to undergo mandatory quarantine for 10 days, even if they are fully vaccinated, according to official sources.

This comes after the UK refused to recognise the vaccine certification in India, issued by the CoWin website, and imposed Covid-related restrictions on fully-vaccinated Indians. India has earlier called this a “discriminatory policy”.

“India has decided to impose reciprocity on UK nationals arriving in India from the UK. Our new regulations will come into effect from October 4, and will be applicable to all UK nationals arriving from the UK,” said a source.

According to the official, from 4 October, all UK nationals arriving in India, “irrespective of their vaccination status” will “have to” undergo “mandatory quarantine at home or in the destination address for 10 days after arrival in India”.

Apart from this, British nationals will also need to get a pre-departure RT-PCR test within 72 hours before traveling and another test on arrival at airport. They will then have to get one more test, eight days after they arrive in the country.

Furthermore, these measures, which will be implemented by health ministry and civil aviation ministry, will be applicable only to British nationals arriving from the UK and not Indian nationals or students returning from the country.

Responding to the measures announced, a spokesperson from the British High Commission in India said that UK continues to work with the Indian government towards recognising the CoWin vaccine certification.

“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 spokesperson said.

“The UK is open to travel and we’re already 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,” noted the spokesperson, in a statement.

Also read: Australia recognises Covishield ahead of reopening international border in November

India-UK continue technical-level discussions

According to another source, India and the UK are still having technical-level discussions on the modalities on which the UK will begin to recognise India’s Covid vaccine certificates.

The Covishield vaccines, developed by UK’s Oxford University and British-Swedish pharma company AstraZeneca and manufactured by the Serum Institute of India, were also a sticking point between the two countries earlier.

However, UK later said that it had no issue with Covishield after the matter was raised by External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar with his British counterpart Elizabeth Truss, on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly on 21 September.

Meanwhile, on 23 September, British High Commissioner to India, Alex Ellis, had said that “excellent” technical discussions had taken place between the two countries.

“Excellent technical discussions with @rssharma3 @AyushmanNHA. Neither side raised technical concerns with each other’s certification process. An important step forward in our joint aim to facilitate travel and fully protect public health of UK and India,” Ellis tweeted.

This report has been updated to include the British High Commission’s response.

Also read: Used Aadhaar for Covid vaccine? Modi govt created your digital health ID without asking you


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