UK rule of 10-day quarantine for those vaccinated in India discriminatory: Government

UK rule of 10-day quarantine for those vaccinated in India discriminatory: Government
A healthcare worker administers the first of the two COVID-19 vaccine doses to a woman in Jammu on Jan 16, 2021.Photo: Mir Imran/GK

New Delhi: India believes the UK’s decision of 10-day quarantine for those vaccinated with Covishield here is “discriminatory” and New Delhi do reserve the right to reciprocate in a similar manner, the government said Thursday, but hoped a quick resolution would be found.

Amid a growing outcry in the country over the UK’s new travel rules, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan told a press conference here both the countries are engaged in a dialogue on the matter.

“We believe that the dispensation that is proposed to be implemented from October 4 is a discriminatory practice. Both sides are in dialogue and we believe that a quick resolution will be found. We do reserve the right to reciprocate in a similar manner,” Bhushan said, responding to a question.

British High Commissioner Alex Ellis Thursday said India and the UK held an “excellent” technical discussion on the issue of vaccine certification.

He tweeted on Thursday, “Excellent technical discussions with @rssharma3 @AyushmanNHA. Neither side raised technical concerns with each other’s certification process. An important step forward in our joint aim to facilitate travel and fully protect public health of UK and India.”

Ellis had said Wednesday there was no problem with Covishield vaccine but the main issue is the vaccine certification done through India’s CoWIN portal.

Following India’s strong criticism of the UK’s refusal to recogniseCovishield, London Wednesday amended its new guidelines to include the Indian-made version of the AstraZeneca vaccine in its updated international travel advisory.

Notwithstanding the amendment, Indian travellers fully vaccinated with Covishield will still have to undergo 10-day quarantine, UK officials clarified on Wednesday, saying the inclusion of the vaccine will not make much of a difference.

“We’re clear Covishield is not a problem. The UK is open to travel and we’re already seeing a lot of people going from India to the UK, be it tourists, business people or students, Ellis had said in a statement on Wednesday.

According to the new rules, Indian travellers who received both doses of the Covishield vaccine produced by the Serum Institute of India will be considered unvaccinated and will have to undergo self-isolation for 10 days.

In a strong reaction, India had Tuesday warned of “reciprocal measures” if the UK does not address New Delhi’s concerns, with Foreign Secretary Harsh VardhanShringla describing these norms as “discriminatory”.

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