New Delhi: Indian travellers, fully vaccinated with Covishield or other UK-approved vaccine, will not be quarantined on arriving in Britain from October 11. Indians who have received both doses vaccine at least 14 days before arrival in the UK can travel without having to quarantine and will not be required to take a pre-departure test nor take a day 8 test following their arrival.
Announcing the decision, British High Commissioner to India Alex Ellis said, “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.”
“We have been open for Indian travellers for months. We have been issuing thousands of visas to students, business travellers, tourists. It’s the product of extensive discussion with the Indian government,” he said in a video message on Twitter.
The British official also called for further opening up travel between the two nations. “This is a further step down the road, set by Prime Minister Modi and Prime Minister Johnson when they agreed to comprehensive strategic partnership in May,” said Ellis.
The announcement came hours after India said it is hopeful of finding a solution to the vaccine certification row.
Terms And Conditions Applied
Eligible travellers vaccinated in over 37 new countries, including India and Pakistan, will be treated the same as returning fully vaccinated UK residents, so long as they have not visited a red list country or territory in the 10 days before arriving in England, the Department for Transport said.
Those arriving before the cut off date of October 11 would still need to follow the rules for unvaccinated travellers.
What Happens To Those Not Fully Vaccinated
Those not fully vaccinated with one of the four UK-recognised vaccines (Oxford/AstraZeneca, Pfizer BioNTech, Moderna, Janssen) or any formulation of these vaccines, including Covishield, must take a pre-departure test, and must take a Covid19 test on or before day 2 and on or after day 8, and self-isolate for 10 days.
Travellers can also choose to shorten their home quarantine to around five days under the Test to Release service.
Vaccine Certification Row
Under the new British rules that came into effect on October 4, fully vaccinated Indians require to undergo 10-day quarantine as the UK have issues with India’s COVID-19 vaccine certification.
The UK initially refused to recognise Covishield, manufactured by the Serum Institute of India (SII). However, following India’s strong criticism of the decision, the UK on September 22 amended its new guidelines and included the vaccine. The move did not provide any relief from quarantine rules for Indian travellers vaccinated with two doses of Covishield.
In a retaliatory move, India imposed reciprocal action under which all British nationals arriving in India from the UK needed to undergo a mandatory 10-day quarantine even if they are fully vaccinated.
(With PTI inputs)