The United Kingdom will reopen on October 4 to travellers who are vaccinated with Covishield against COVID-19, according to a government circular released on September 22, relaxing pandemic-related restrictions on countries including India.
According to the travel circular, the four listed vaccines allowed include AstraZeneca Covishield, AstraZeneca Vaxzevria and Moderna Takeda, which pass as approved vaccines.
It stated that a traveller must have had an entire course or two doses of an authorised vaccine at least 14 days before arriving in England.
However, for Indian nationals, there is no difference since India was shifted to an amber list of guidelines on travel, which means that Indians will have to get tested on arrival and undergo quarantine for ten days.
The UK divides the countries according to red, amber or green and applies quarantine and COVID-19 testing rules according to the country’s category. India falls under the amber list.
Even if people are completely vaccinated, they must undergo a COVID-19 test on or before day two while travelling to the UK.
After arriving in England, travellers must quarantine themselves at home or where they are staying for ten days. They are additionally expected to take a COVID-19 test on or before day two and on or after day 8.
However, there are exemptions. People under the amber list do not have to undergo quarantine if they are under the UK vaccination programme or received a jab from a vaccine approved in Europe or the US.
The Covishield approval arrives after India on September 21 cautioned of “reciprocal measures” if the UK does not discuss concerns over the latest travel rules regarding the COVID-19 vaccine certification, with Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla defining these measures as “discriminatory”.
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar also took up the Covishield-vaccinated travellers being asked to quarantine in the UK with newly-appointed British Foreign Secretary Elizabeth Truss at a meeting in New York.
The updated rules had received criticism in India, with the opposition Congress pressing the government to mediate and assure that Indian travellers face no difficulty immediately.
On Monday, the British High Commission said it is negotiating with India to examine how it could expand the identification of COVID-19 vaccine certification assigned by Indian authorities.