The Financial Express

UK eases Covid travel restrictions for fully vaccinated Indians

| Updated: October 09, 2021 09:03:37

UK eases Covid travel restrictions for fully vaccinated Indians

The UK has eased travel restrictions for fully vaccinated Indians who have received a UK-approved jab.

Starting 11 October, they will not have to self-isolate or take a Covid test when they arrive in the UK.

The move is a relief to thousands of Indians who travel to the UK for work, studies and leisure.

The change in guidelines came days after Delhi imposed reciprocal measures on British nationals in retaliation for UK travel curbs on Indian citizens, reports the BBC. 

Trouble has been brewing for some time between the two countries over Covishield, the Indian-made version of the AstraZeneca vaccine that is identical to the doses given to millions of Britons.

The UK had earlier refused to recognise Covishield. So, fully vaccinated Indian travellers had to still isolate for 10 days and take Covid-19 tests - at their own expense - before they were allowed to leave quarantine.

After outrage in India against what many called "a discriminatory rule", UK designated Covishield an approved jab last month.

But it did not add India to its exempt-from-quarantine list and the travel restrictions continued. Similarly vaccinated travellers to the UK from many other countries were not facing the same restrictions.

This led to a backlash from Delhi, which imposed a mandatory quarantine last week for fully vaccinated British nationals traveling to India.

Britain's decision to ease travel restrictions for Indians comes at a time when India's daily cases have fallen from a peak of 400,000 during a devastating second wave in May to around 21,000 on Thursday.

About 26 per cent of India's eligible population has been fully vaccinated and nearly 70 per cent have received at least one dose.

Covishield, locally produced by the Serum Institute of India, has been the main vaccine, with some 819 million doses given so far.

Most others have received Covaxin, an Indian-made government-backed jab, which has not been approved by the WHO yet.

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