What are the New Quarantine Rules For Indians Travelling to UK?
What are the rules for Indians flying to the UK? If not Covishield, what vaccines is the UK recognising currently?
The new set of guidelines, issued by the UK in the third week of September, which had stirred controversy over its 10-day quarantine rule for all passengers from India despite their vaccination status, comes into effect from Monday, 4 October.
Although the UK had updated its travel guidelines to include Covishield in its list of recognised vaccines, it did not give approval to CoWIN certificate. Hence, the move did not provide any relief from quarantine rules for Indian travellers jabbed with Covishield.
In a reciprocal move, India, too, imposed a mandatory 10-day quarantine rule for passengers from the UK travelling to India. That, too, comes into effect on 4 October.
What are the rules for Indians travelling to the UK?
Before their departure, all Indian citizens flying to the UK should take a negative COVID-19 RT-PCR report within 72 hours of flight's departure, regardless of their vaccination status, that is, regardless of being double vaccinated with Covishield, a version of the AstraZeneca vaccine made by the Serum Institute of India.
They also have to book and pay for day-2 and day-8 RT-PCR tests to be taken in England.
Indians travelling to the UK also have to quarantine at home or their destination address for 10 days.
What are the rules for British citizens travelling to India?
Before their departure, all British citizens flying to India should upload a negative COVID-19 RT-PCR report within 72 hours of the flight's departure, regardless of their vaccination status.
They also have to submit a self-declaration form on the online Air Suvidha portal before departure.
When they land in India, regardless of their vaccination status, they have to take a COVID-19 RT-PCR test on arrival at the airport.
A 10-day quarantine is mandatory for British travellers at home or the destination address.
They also have to undertake a COVID-19 RT-PCR on day 8 after arrival at their own cost.
If not Covishield, what vaccines is the UK recognising currently?
Under the new rule, only those travellers who are double vaccinated with AstraZeneca, Pfizer, or Moderna or the single-dose Janssen vaccine “under an approved vaccination programme in the UK, Europe, US or UK vaccine programme overseas” will be considered fully vaccinated.
As per the expanded list, people who will be considered fully vaccinated will be those vaccinated by public health bodies in Australia, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Bahrain, Brunei, Canada, Dominica, Israel, Japan, Kuwait, Malaysia, New Zealand, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea or Taiwan.
From the two above mentioned groups, people travelling to the UK will have to take a COVID-19 test on arrival in the UK, but can skip the 10-day quarantine.
Why did the UK not recognise India's vaccines?
While Covaxin is yet to receive emergency use authorisation from the World Health Organization, the current controversy is about Covishield, which is a variant of the Oxford–AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, developed by the Serum Institute of India.
The UK government's problem with Covishield is not the vaccine, but the proof of vaccination.
The United Kingdom has included AstraZeneca Covishield in its list of acceptable vaccines for travel into the UK but has raised concerns about the security of the certification system.
On 21 September, the UK government said it was engaging in talks with India to recognise COVID vaccination certificate for travel.
Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla warned that if the UK did not lift its measures for Indian travellers, India would be within its "right to take reciprocal measures".
On 1 October, the National Health Authority (NHA) of India made vaccine certificates compliant with WHO guidelines, displaying the vaccinated person’s date of birth on the certificate.
However, the certification problem has still not been resolved as India, starting 4 October, imposed tit-for-tat COVID-19 travel rules for Britishers traveling to India.
Subscribe To Our Daily Newsletter And Get News Delivered Straight To Your Inbox.