The UK on Friday said that the it is continuing to cooperate with other countries across the globe to expand recognition of COVID vaccine certification in a phased approach.
This statement comes after India decided to impose reciprocal measures on British nationals under which UK nationals arriving in the country from Britain will have to undergo mandatory quarantine at home or in the destination address for 10 days after their arrival, sources said. "The UK is continuing to work on expanding the policy to countries and territories across the globe in a phased approach. We are continuing to engage with the Government of India on technical cooperation to expand UK recognition of vaccine certification to people vaccinated by a relevant public health body in India," the British High Commission spokesperson said in a statement.
The spokesperson said the UK is open to travel and they are seeing a lot of people going from India to the UK, be it tourists, business people or students. "Over 62,500 student visas have been issued in the year ending June 2021, which is an increase of almost 30% as compared to the previous year. We want to make the process of travelling as easy as possible."
The step came days after the United Kingdom announced new travel rules which state that Indian travellers, even those who have received both doses of the Covishield vaccine, will be considered unvaccinated.
Sources said that reciprocity will come into force from October 4, the same day UK's new travel rules come into effect. "New regulations will come into effect from October 4, and will be applicable to all UK nationals arriving from the UK," a source said.
Sources said that from October 4, all UK nationals arriving in India from the UK, irrespective of their vaccination status, will have to undertake pre-departure COVID-19 RT-PCR test within 72 hours before travel, RT-PCR test on arrival at airport and RT-PCR test on Day 8 after arrival.
"UK nationals arriving in India from the UK will have to undergo mandatory quarantine at home or in the destination address for 10 days after the arrival," the source said.
Sources said that authorities in Health and Civil Aviation ministries will be taking steps to implement the new measures.
India had said last month that it will be within its rights to take reciprocal measures against UK's "discriminatory" move to recognise AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine but not Covishield if the issue is not satisfactorily resolved.
Even though the new British rules state that AstraZeneca Covishield is among vaccines that qualify as approved, India is not yet on the list of 17 countries mentioned. The 'changes to international travel rules' state that formulations of the four listed vaccines, such as AstraZeneca Covishield, AstraZeneca Vaxzevria and Moderna Takeda, qualify as approved vaccines.