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Modi Govt's Tit-for-tat works with the United Kingdom on vaccine travel row

Nirendra Dev

Nirendra DevOct 08, 2021, 11:10 AM IST

Modi Govt's Tit-for-tat works with the United Kingdom on vaccine travel row

The Indian government imposed 'reciprocity' on all British nationals arriving in India from the UK regarding the vaccine and COVID-19 protocols.

 

New Delhi: It seems the language of 'Tit-for-tat' or the 'reciprocity' policy, to put it mildly, has worked with the British government.

"No quarantine for Indian travellers to the UK fully vaccinated with Covishield or another UK-approved vaccine from October 11. Thanks to the Indian government for close cooperation over last month," tweeted British High Commissioner to India, Alex Ellis, bringing an end to the stalemate.

Making the United Kingdom understand things in a language and gesture it understands better, the Indian government, on October 1, finally decided to impose 'reciprocity' on all British nationals arriving in India from the UK regarding the vaccine and COVID-19 protocols.

"Our new regulations will come into effect from October 4," a source in the central government had said. It also asserted that the restricted norms were to be applicable to "all UK nationals arriving from the UK."

All British citizens, thus arriving in India from October 4, Monday, had to face a mandatory 10-day quarantine irrespective of vaccination status. This was done after the UK government had slapped such hurdles for Indians travelling to the United Kingdom, notwithstanding having taken the jabs.

"Good evening! From Monday, October 11, 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 be easier and cheaper to enter the UK. This is great news," Alex Ellis said in a video message.

Meanwhile, the British government has also provided relief to 46 other countries removed them from 4 am (British time) Monday, October 11 from the red list. Panama, Colombia, Venezuela, Peru, Ecuador, Haiti and the Dominican Republic remain on the red list. However, official sources in Britain said such 'red list' restrictions would remain for these seven countries.

The UK government also extended the inbound vaccinated arrivals system to a further 37 countries and territories across the globe, including India, South Africa and Turkey, meaning eligible vaccinated passengers arriving from the rest of world countries only need to take a day 2 test in England.

The UK government has confirmed that passengers will be able to send a picture of their lateral flow test as a minimum requirement to verify test result accuracy and keep prices down once Day 2 tests switch to lateral flow later this month, followed by a free PCR if positive.

Moreover, passengers returning to England from 'these destinations' will no longer be required to enter hotel quarantine.

The continued progress on vaccination both at home and around the world means the UK government can "confidently reduce the size of the red list" to focus on countries that pose the highest risk.

Eligible fully vaccinated passengers and eligible 'under 18s' returning from countries and territories, not on the red list can do so with just a day 2 test.

Other passengers who are not fully vaccinated with an authorised vaccine returning from a non-red destination must still take a pre-departure test, a day 2 and day 8 test and complete 10 days self-isolation (with the option of Test to Release on day 5).

Commencing October 11, the eligible travellers vaccinated in over 37 new countries and territories, including Brazil, Ghana, Hong Kong, India, Pakistan, South Africa and Turkey, will also be treated the same as returning fully vaccinated UK residents as long as they have not visited a red list country or territory in the ten days before arriving in England.

The UK's move not to recognise India's vaccination was not only discriminatory, but it also reflected a virtual superiority complex and "colonialist mindset", according to some observers.

External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar had met his British Foreign Secretary Elizabeth Truss in New York last month and took up Covishield-vaccinated travellers being required to quarantine in the UK.

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