India Imposes Reciprocal Travel Restrictions on British Citizens

India, on October 1, imposed reciprocal quarantine measures on the United Kingdom citizens landing in India. As per the new regulations, UK nationals arriving in India will have to go under ten days of mandatory quarantine, irrespective of their vaccination status, from October 4, stated official sources.   

Under the new norms, all British citizens arriving in India from the UK will also have to undertake the pre-departure Covid-19 rapid PCR test within 72 hours before travel, irrespective of their vaccination status. They are also required to undergo similar tests upon arrival at the Indian airport and on the 8th day after arriving in India.   

This decision will be enforced unless the UK reverses its mandatory quarantine measures of 10 days on Indian travellers. However, the announcement hinted that there was still some place for talks.   

Officials said the issue associated with the UK not recognising Indian vaccine certificates couldn’t be resolved during the Foreign Ministers meeting in New York last week.   

The deepening conflict regarding the quarantine period and vaccination certificates have cast a shadow on expected high-level visits from London to India.   

However, the sources clarified that the move would not affect non-resident Indians (NRIs) residing in the UK with permits. It may affect Person of Indian Origin (PIO) and Overseas Citizen of India (OCI)-cardholders as they are likely to be UK citizens.   

Even though there is no tourist traffic from the UK to India, the new measures have been enforced. The announcement came days after the UK recognised the India-made Covishield vaccine produced by the Serum Institute of India (SII). Though the UK has finally recognised the vaccine, allowing passengers vaccinated with Covishield, it still retained the 10-day mandatory quarantine period for fully inoculated passengers from India that intensified the rift between the two countries.    

In its defence, the British sources earlier said that there were no issues with the Covishield vaccine. Still, there were “technical difficulties” that stopped the UK from connecting with India to verify vaccination certificates of Indian travellers.    

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