UK Travel: Mandatory Quarantine for Indians

UK Travel: Mandatory Quarantine for Indians

The UK government last week announced a major relaxation of international travel rules for vaccinated people coming in and out of England, with long-haul routes between India and the UK set to benefit.

From 4 October, the current UK traffic light system of red, amber, and green countries based on levels of COVID-19 risk will be scrapped and replaced with one red list only.

The scrapping of an amber list, which is what India is currently on, means a reduced cost burden for travellers in terms of PCR tests and quarantine measures.

However, an expanded list of countries whose vaccines are recognised in England does not include India, which means that Indians vaccinated with Covishield would still be required to undergo a pre-departure PCR test and further tests on landing in the UK.

The United Kingdom has finally approved Covishield in a revised travel advisory. According to the UK government, ‘Formulations of the four listed vaccines, such as AstraZeneca Covishield, AstraZeneca Vaxzevria and Moderna Takeda’, qualify as approved vaccines.

However, this does not mean that Indians will not have to quarantine for ten days. That rule still stays. So even if you are vaccinated with both doses of Covishield, you will have to quarantine for ten days upon arrival in the UK. 

UK Quarantine Measures for Indians

According to the UK government, there is an issue with vaccine certification. The UK only recognises vaccine certificates from specific countries with relevant public health bodies. Unfortunately, India is not on this list.

The 18 countries currently on the UK government’s approved inbound vaccinations list besides the US and Europe include Australia, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Bahrain, Brunei, Canada, Dominica, Israel, Japan, Kuwait, Malaysia, New Zealand, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Indian travellers, despite being on the amber list, will have to undergo a ten-day quarantine because of this. The vaccine certification issue seems to be the main problem here. India has earlier protested against the disapproval of Covishield vaccines by the UK government.

Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan had earlier said that the UK’s non-recognition of the Covishield vaccine is discriminatory, and hinted that reciprocal measures might be taken.

What are your thoughts on this issue? Talk to us in the comment section below.

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