Facing a strong objection from India over travel rules relating to COVID-19 vaccine certification, the United Kingdoms (UK) on Wednesday revised its advisory. In its revised travel advisory, UK now has said that Covishield, manufactured by the Serum Institute of India (SII), qualifies as an approved Covid-vaccine.
The updated advisory means that Indians fully vaccinated with Covishield will no longer be required to undergo compulsory 10-day self-isolation at home or declared location on entry to England.
“Formulations of the 4 listed vaccines, such as AstraZeneca Covishield, AstraZeneca Vaxzevria and Moderna Takeda, qualify as approved vaccines,” reads the advisory from the UK’s Department for Transport (DfT) and Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC).
“You must have had a complete course of an approved vaccine at least 14 days before you arrive in England,” it adds.
The move will also mean that a pre-departure PCR test is no longer required as long as vaccinated travellers pre-book a day two test post-arrival in England and complete the compulsory passenger locator form in advance.
Meanwhile, A British High Commission spokesperson said, "We are engaging with Govt of India to explore how we could expand UK recognition of vaccine certification to people vaccinated by a relevant public health body in India. Indian travellers to the UK must follow the ‘non-vaccinated rules."
India on Tuesday had warned of "reciprocal measures" if the UK does not address its concerns over the new travel rules relating to COVID-19 vaccine certification with Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla describing these norms as "discriminatory".
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar also took up the issue of Covishield-vaccinated travellers being required to quarantine in the UK with newly-appointed British Foreign Secretary Elizabeth Truss at a meeting in New York.
"The basic issue is that here is a vaccine, Covishield, which is a licensed product of the UK company, manufactured in India of which we have supplied five million doses to the UK at the request of the government of the UK. We understand that this is being used under the national health system, and, therefore, non-recognition of Covishield is a discriminatory policy and does impact those of our citizens travelling to the UK," Shringla said.
According to UK earlier advisory, Indian travellers who have received both doses of the Covishield vaccine will be considered unvaccinated and will have to undergo self-isolation for 10 days.