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Source: mint Date: 08 Oct 2021

No quarantine for Indian travellers who are fully vaccinated with Covishield, says UK

In what comes as a major relief for Indian travellers, the UK on Thursday announced that it will scrap tough COVID-19 quarantine travel rules for 47 destination, including India, from Monday and said it would recognise the vaccine status of arrivals from more countries in the latest easing of restrictions.

This means that all Indians who are full-vaccinated with locally-produced Covishield Covid-19 vaccine will not be required to undergo mandatory 10-day quarantine any more.

“Eligible fully vaccinated passengers and eligible under 18s returning from countries and territories not on the red list, can do so with just a day 2 test," the UK government said in a statement.

From 4 am Monday 11 October, eligible travellers vaccinated in over 47 new countries and territories including Brazil, Ghana, Hong Kong, India, Pakistan, South Africa and Turkey, will also be treated the same as returning fully vaccinated UK residents, so long as they have not visited a red list country or territory in the 10 days before arriving in England, the statement further added.

The decision comes after the UK government revised its travel restrictions for countries under the red list. As per the order, 47 countries and territories will be removed from its red list, making it easier for more people to travel abroad to a larger number of countries and territories. Passengers returning to England from these destinations will no longer be required to enter hotel quarantine.

The current red list is now reduced to 7 destinations: Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Haiti, Panama, Peru and Venezuela.

Transport minister Grant Shapps said on Thursday that travellers arriving in England from 37 countries and territories would also face fewer entry requirements as their vaccine status will be recognised, including arrivals from India, Turkey and Ghana.

"The measures announced today mark the next step as we continue to open up travel and provide stability for passengers and industry while remaining on track to keep travel open for good," he said on Twitter.

However, passengers who are not an eligible traveller with an authorised vaccine arriving from a rest of world destination must still take a pre-departure test, a day 2 and day 8 test and complete 10 days self-isolation (with the option of Test to Release on day 5).

Earlier today, the Ministry of External Affairs on Thursday said that there can be an early solution to the India-UK travel restrictions row. India has taken reciprocal action against the UK's new international COVID-19 travel rules which India has termed 'discriminatory'.

Talking to reporters MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said "We took it up with UK authorities at various levels but without success, that's why October 4 onwards we have applied reciprocal measures for all UK nationals arriving in India, so that's in effect, discussions are ongoing, nonetheless, we remain hopeful that some solution may emerge."

The UK initially refused to recognise Covishield, manufactured by the Serum Institute of India (SII). However, following India's strong criticism of the decision, the UK on September 22 amended its new guidelines and included the vaccine.

However, the move did not provide any relief from quarantine rules for Indian travellers vaccinated with two doses of Covishield.

Later, British officials said the UK has issues with India's vaccine certification process and not with the Covishield vaccine.

The Covishield Covid-19 vaccine is manufactured by Pune-based Serum Institute of India from the combination of UK's Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine.


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