The UK Recognises Covishield For Travel But Indians Can’t Skip Quarantine

The United Kingdom on September 22 revised its travel advisory by adding Covishield, jointly developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University and manufactured by the Serum Institute of India (SII), as an approved vaccine for travellers visiting EU countries from any other country, including India, from October 4 onwards. 

A total of 18 countries, including Canada, Denmark, Antigua and Barbuda have been moved to the ‘green list’, providing an allowance for fully vaccinated travellers to travel to the UK without any quarantine requirements. However, for Passengers from India, the UK has set another set of travel guidelines. 

Wherein the latest UK travel rules allow a traveller from ‘green list’ countries inoculated with the SII’s Covishield to enter the UK without being quarantined, a passenger from India will have to go through the process of quarantine. As per the new guidelines issued for Indian travellers, they have to quarantine mandatorily for a period of 10 days. 

The new travel advisory does not require a pre-departure RT-PCR test from vaccinated travellers if they pre-book a day two test after arrival in England and then complete the compulsory passenger locator form in advance. 

The UK added India-made Covishield to its list of recognised vaccines, however, it refused to recognise vaccine certificates given to those administered with the vaccine in India. 

Responding to the new sticking point, a top UK official has said that the problem does not lay in Covishield but India’s vaccine certificate. 

Earlier, India protested the UK’s refusal to recognise the Covishield vaccine and alerted of reciprocal measures if the discriminatory policy was not modified. 

In its new travel guidelines, the UK clarified that if a traveller is inoculated with a full dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca, Pfizer-BioNTech, Johnson, or Moderna vaccines from a certified public health body in select countries, then they will be considered fully vaccinated. Moreover, the traveller must complete the full course of a WHO-approved vaccine at least 14 days before his/her arrival in England. Thus, the traveller can enter Britain “from 4 am October 4”. 

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