Indian travellers fully vaccinated with both doses of Covishield will not require to quarantine in UK from October 11 onwards. British high commissioner to India Alex Ellis tweeted it on Thursday, bringing an end to the ongoing India-UK tussle over recognition of vaccination against Covid-19 in both the countries.
“Good evening! From Monday, 11th October, travellers from India to the UK, double jabbed by Covishield or any other vaccine recognised by the UK regulator does not have to quarantine. So it will easier and cheaper to enter the UK. This is great news,” Alex Ellis said in a video message, thanking the Indian government for the continuous cooperation with the UK government.
The UK is open for Indian travellers for months and processed thousands of visas to students, business travellers and tourists, the British high commissioner said in his message. “Some of the noise about this issue in the last few weeks just shows how keen people are to travel to the UK and I am delighted by that… Let’s open up more flights between the countries…” he said.
The issue started after the UK tweaked its travel rules from October 4. It did not initially mention Covishield in the list of its accepted vaccines against Covid-19. Then the UK government accepted the Covishield vaccine as it is a formulation of the Oxford-Astrazeneca vaccine. Astrazeneca is already recognised by the UK regulatory authority. However, UK did not accept India’s vaccine certificates, generated by Cowin.
Several rounds of talks were held between India and the UK government to end this stalemate. UK not recognising India’s vaccine certificate meant travellers vaccinated with both doses of Covishield had to undergo the mandatory quarantine in the UK. While the talks went on, India also imposed a similar restriction on people coming to India from the UK. It said irrespective of the vaccination status, all UK travellers in India will have to be quarantined for 10 days.
Serum Institute of India CEO Adar Poonawalla had expressed his disappointment with the UK’s Covishield curb. The government reiterated that there was no issue with either Covishield or the vaccine certificate. While the certificate adheres to global standard, India exported Covishield to the UK, the government said.