Good news for the fully-vaccinated Indians travelling to the UK
From 11th October onwards, any Indian travelling to the UK, who has received the two doses of Covishield or any other vaccine approved in the UK will not have to exercise self-isolation upon stepping inside the UK. Previously, any Indian traveller travelling to the UK had to go into quarantine. However, the British High Commissioner to India, Alex Ellis, took to Twitter on the 7th of October 2021, and announced: “No quarantine for Indian travellers to the UK fully vaccinated with Covishield or another UK-approved vaccine from October 11.”
After the UK imposed the restrictions, India took some time to reciprocate. But, on 4th October 2021, India declared a 10-day mandatory quarantine restriction on UK travellers coming to India. The British High Commission spokesperson reacted to the decision and stated, “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 students and travellers travelling to the UK for different purposes now do not have to isolate themselves. 11th October 2021 will mark freedom for Indians travelling to the UK. For a long time, the India-UK tussle over vaccine recognition was aggravating. But the step India took to even it out was pretty hard-hitting. The UK reacted fast and made it clear that any Indian travelling to the UK will not have to follow the strict quarantine rules provided they have been inoculated with any UK-approved vaccine, like Covishield or any other vaccine.
The UK has kept its gates open for students and travellers for the past many months. It has approved hundreds and thousands of student visas, and tourist and business travel visas. In fact, the British High Commissioner fathomed the interest of people to travel to the UK, and that is why the government decided to operate more flights from India to the UK. So that more people could travel into the country.
The beginning of problems
Everything was going good until the UK decided to tweak its list of approved vaccines against COVID-19. It did not include Covishield in its list of approved vaccines, and the UK-India tension heightened pertaining to this vaccine tussle. The tiff was aggravated because the UK government affirmed the Covishield vaccine. After all, it is formulated by the Oxford-Astrazeneca vaccine. It is approved by the UK regulatory authority. However, the UK denied approving of the vaccination certificate generated and authorized by the Cowin app of India previously.
Move of India to settle this squabble
Indian repeated help meetings to settle this tiff between the two countries. The stalemate was desperately tried to be mitigated through numerous deliberation sessions between India and the UK government. However, the UK was hell-bent on not relaxing the quarantine rules that Indian travellers had to follow upon landing in the UK, even after getting two doses of the Covishield vaccine. It denied approval to the vaccine certificate of India. Hence, travellers had to go into quarantine mandatorily. The intense discussions were going on between the two countries when Indians too decided to impose quarantine restrictions on travellers flying into India from the UK. As we already know, the biodiversity of India, natural resplendence, opportunities, beauty, and mysticism surrounding the country attract loads of UK travellers to the country. Indian knows the keen interest of UK travellers to keep travelling to India. Hence, the unsmiling decision. The Indian government made it crystal clear that all travellers coming to India from the UK, irrespective of their vaccination status, have to follow the 10 days quarantine protocol strictly. This has been in effect since last Sunday 4th October 2021 midnight.
Disappointment revolving around the entire vaccine row
The CEO of Serum Institute of India, Adar Poonawalla, showed his disappointment with the stance of the UK to not approve Covishield made in India. However, the government stated that there is no issue concerning the Covishield or the vaccination certificate generated by Cowin. The vaccination certificate generated by the Cowin application (Government application) abides by the global standard. In fact, India actively participated in exporting Covishield to the UK, the government stated clearly.
In a nutshell, it is good news for the Indians because now they can roam around freely, and go about their businesses without losing time because from 11th October 2021 onwards, there is no need to adhere to the strict quarantine restrictions (as per the directives from the British Administrative bodies).