NEW DELHI: Under fire for keeping fully vaccinated (with Covishield) travellers from India at par with unvaccinated travellers in terms of quarantine norms, the UK is finally showing signs of ending this discrimination.
British High Commissioner to India Alex Ellis Tweeted on Thursday that “neither side (India and UK) 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.”
Excellent technical discussions with @rssharma3 @AyushmanNHA. Neither side raised technical concerns with each othe… https://t.co/H2r7Mngfri— Alex Ellis (@AlexWEllis) 1632392991000
His tweet came after “excellent technical discussions” with R S Sharma, chairman of the empowered group for Covid-19 vaccine administration.
In response, Sharma Tweeted: “Echoing his views, this will be instrumental in resuming socio-economic activities between India and UK. We also look forward to deepening ties… as we collaborate to build a digital continuum of healthcare services.”
Till now the UK had been saying that the problem was not with WHO-approved Covishield, but India's Covid vaccination certification process.
“We’re clear Covishield is not a problem…. We have been having detailed technical discussions regarding certification, with the builders of the CoWIN app and the NHS app, about both apps. They’re happening at a rapid pace, to ensure that both countries mutually recognise the vaccine certificates issued by each other,” Ellis had said in a statement on Wednesday.
The UK has so till now not recognised India’s vaccine certification. As a result, even as UK relaxes quarantine norms for non-red list countries (that includes India) for arrivals into England from October 4, fully vaccinated travellers — who got jabs of the globally accepted Covishield in India — do not get this exemption.
For travellers from India, entry norms are the same when the country was moved from UK’s red to amber list on August 8. Regardless of their vaccination status, travellers from India must take a pre-departure test and a Covid-19 test on or before day 2 and on or after day 8, and self-isolate for 10 days. They can choose to shorten their home quarantine to around 5 days under the test to release service. If the result is negative, they can end their quarantine.