India warns UK of ‘reciprocal measures’ over ‘discriminatory’ vaccine policy

Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla, however, says India has received assurances that the matter will soon be resolved

Jaishankar
Foreign Minister S Jaishankar | PTI File

The UK’s decision to not recognise Covishield is “discriminatory” and it is within India’s “right to take reciprocal measures” if the matter was not resolved, New Delhi said on Tuesday.

Britain relaxed border restrictions to allow foreign travellers into the country from October 4, but said Indians who have received both doses of Covishield will be considered “unvaccinated” and will have to undergo a “10-day self-isolation”.

Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla said the move affects Indian citizens travelling to that country.

Also read: US to open for fully vaccinated international travellers

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“The non-recognition of Covishield is a discriminatory policy and impacts our citizens travelling to the UK. The external affairs minister has raised the issue strongly with the new UK foreign secretary. I am told that certain assurances have been given that this issue will be resolved,” Shringla said at a press conference in New Delhi.

His comments came on a day Foreign Minister S Jaishankar tweeted about discussing the matter with the British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss on the sidelines of the 76th session of the UN General Assembly.

What Does the New UK Rule Say?

Only those who have received two doses of vaccine such as AstraZeneca, Pfizer or Moderna, or the single-dose Janssen “under an approved vaccination program in the UK, Europe, US or UK vaccine programme overseas” will be considered fully vaccinated.

Also read: COVID killed more in US than Spanish flu, but it isn’t the worst

As per the expanded list, people who have been vaccinated by public health bodies in Australia, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Bahrain, Brunei, Canada, Dominica, Israel, Japan, Kuwait, Malaysia, New Zealand, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea or Taiwan will also be considered fully vaccinated.

This expanded list does not include India. Indians, therefore, must take a pre-travel COVID test, another one on arrival, and quarantine for 10 days.

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