Tribune News Service
New Delhi, October 1
India acted on its word and imposed reciprocity on UK nationals arriving here by deciding to quarantine them for 10 days irrespective of their vaccination status. The decision came after a stalemate in talks between the Indian authorities and the British High Commission to resolve UK’s policy that External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar had said was “discriminatory”.
The new regulations will come into effect from October 4, which is the same day that the UK will begin a new policy of mandatory quarantining passengers from India for 10 days, said sources close to the government.
The Indian norms are an exact copy of the new British rules that stipulate self-isolation for 10 days as the UK has recognised Covishield but not the Cowin app.
Under the new norms, all UK nationals, irrespective of their vaccination status, will have to take a Covid RT-PCR test within 72 hours before travel, a similar test at the airport and another eight days after arrival. They will also have to undergo mandatory quarantine at home or in the destination address for 10 days after arrival in India.
Authorities in the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and Ministry of Civil Aviation have been asked to take steps to implement the new measures, said the sources.
The action comes after 10 days of inaction by London after External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar had met UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss and pressed for an early resolution of the quarantine issue in “mutual interest’’.
Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla was more forthright. “I have raised the discriminatory nature of UK vaccine recognition for AstraZeneca but not Covishield. Discussions on, but if they do not satisfy us, we would be well within our rights to take reciprocal action,’’ he had observed. Congress leader Shashi Tharoor had cancelled a visit to Britain as its “offensive to ask fully vaccinated Indians to quarantine’’. Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan had also asked London to find a quick solution or India or be prepared for consequences.
Australia okays Covishield
Australia declares two jabs of the India-made Covishield as “recognised” for international travellers as part of its next steps to safely reopen to the world. It also simultaneously approved the Chinese vaccine Sinovac as it prepares to open its money-spinning educational institutions where students from these two countries form the majority.