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UK Government Accepts Covishield but Yet to Decide Whether to Allow Indian Travellers

By: Palak Bathla
24 Sep 2021 1:24:00 PM CSMC, Chitkara University, Punjab

On Monday, the Boris Johnson government announced that visitors from India would have to undergo mandatory quarantine for 10 days, even if they have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in India.

 

Both countries have made widespread use of the AstraZeneca-Oxford jab for their vaccination drives. Britain had even taken delivery of about 5 million doses made under licence by the Serum Institute of India before the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer halted exports following the second wave in India.

 

Monday’s announcement was met with a lot of acrimony from prominent Indians from across the political divide, from the Foreign Minister S Jaishankar to Congress MP Shashi Tharoor. “Highly discriminatory”, “racist” and “asinine” were just some of the adjectives that they had used to describe the policy.

 

Jaishankar took up the matter ‘strongly’ with his UK counterpart Liz Truss, India's foreign secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla told PTI.

 

On Tuesday, the Indian High Commission in London had described the rule as “discriminatory” and asked the UK to stop the current requirement.

 

However, it is not finalised whether the UK will allow Indians entry without English/European vaccination or not. The UK government has elaborated on its decision to quarantine Indian travellers, saying that its primary issue is not with the vaccine itself as much as it is with the CoWin application that certifies Indian vaccinations. 

 

More than 721 million Covisheild vaccine doses have been used across the nation.

 

Meanwhile, NDTV and Scroll.in have recently reported on discrepancies in CoWin’s vaccination certificate. While NDTV’s dispatch focussed on CoWin sending vaccine certificates to the dead, Scroll’s story was about officials in Bihar uploading vaccine data late to ensure a huge inflow of vaccination checks on PM Modi’s birthday.

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