The UK on Thursday announced that Indian travellers won’t have to quarantine upon their arrival if they are either fully vaccinated with Covishield or any other UK-approved Covid-19 jab. The rule will come into effect from October 11. “No quarantine for Indian travellers to UK. Fully vaccinated with Covishield or another UK-approved vaccine from 11 October. Thanks to Indian government for close cooperation over last month," British High Commissioner to India Alex Ellis tweeted.

This comes after a major row between India and the UK over Britain’s travel advisory, which included Covishield in its list of accepted vaccines, but still required vaccinated travellers from India to quarantine themselves for 10 days upon arrival. The UK at the time said it didn’t accept the CoWIN certificate.
On the latest development, a British High Commission spokesperson said the decision was taken “after close technical cooperation between our ministries taking public health factors into account”. “The extension of vaccine certification is a further step to enable people to travel more freely again, in a safe and sustainable way, while protecting public health," the spokesperson added.

Welwyn Hatfield MP Grant Shapps also tweeted that he’s making changes so that travellers from 37 countries, including India, face fewer entry restrictions. “I’m also making changes so travellers visiting England have fewer entry requirements, by recognising those with fully-vax status from 37 new countries and territories including India, Turkey and Ghana, treating them the same as UK fully vax passengers."

The Vaccine Certification Row

Earlier, the UK didn’t even include Covishield in its list of accepted vaccines, drawing sharp criticism from India, with foreign secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla calling the UK government’s decision “discriminatory" and one that impacts the travel of Indians. He had added that it is within the country’s “right to take reciprocal measures" if the matter was not resolved.

Following the backlash, the UK had on September 22 revised its travel advisory to include Covishield in its list of accepted vaccines, but mandated Indians to quarantine and get tested on arrival. Since then, both the countries were in talks to resolve the quarantine clause.

In a tit-for-tat move, India had last week updated its travel advisory mentioning states that all British nationals arriving in India from the UK will have to undergo a mandatory 10-day quarantine from Monday irrespective of their vaccination status.

Recently, the Indian men’s and women’s hockey teams pulled out of the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham citing coronavirus concerns and discriminatory quarantine rules for Indians in the UK.