The UK said on Monday it was engaging with India to explore how it could expand recognition of COVID-19 vaccine certification issued by Indian authorities amid criticism of new UK travel rules.
Comments from a spokesperson for the UK High Commission here came as India expressed concern over the latest Covid-related travel restrictions announced by the UK.
Under the new rules, Indian travelers who have received both doses of the Covishield vaccine made by the Serum Institute of India (SII) will be considered unvaccinated and will have to self-isolate for 10 days.
Asked about India’s concerns over the new rules that will take effect from October 4, the British high commission spokesperson said the UK was engaged with India on the issue and was pledged to reopen international travel “as soon as possible”. .
“The UK is committed to reopening international travel as soon as possible and this announcement is a further step in enabling people to travel again more freely, safely and sustainably, while protecting public health,” said declared the spokesperson.
“We are engaging with the Indian government to explore how we could extend UK recognition of vaccine certification to people vaccinated by a relevant public health body in India,” the official added.
From October 4, the current “traffic light system” of red, orange and green countries based on COVID-19 risk levels will be replaced by a red list of countries.
Removing the Amber List, which India is currently on, means reduced PCR testing costs only for some travelers.
The expanded list of countries whose vaccines are recognized in the UK does not include India. This means that Indians vaccinated with Covishield, the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine produced by IBS, would be required to undergo mandatory PCR testing as well as self-isolation.
People familiar with the development said the UK has constantly reviewed visa rules throughout the pandemic to keep borders open, while gradually and safely restarting travel.
“The UK will continue to review the scientific evidence on other vaccines and regularly monitor health measures,” said one of the people named above.
People said Indian travelers’ visa applications for all categories continue to be processed and they do not need to be vaccinated to travel to the UK.
They said that regardless of an Indian national’s vaccination status, the person traveling from India to the UK must take a pre-departure test and a COVID-19 test no later than the second day of the visit, and on or after the eighth day, and self-isolate for 10 days.
(Except for the title, this story was not edited by The Bharat Express News staff and is posted Platforms.)