India on Friday decided that UK nationals arriving here from that country will have to undergo mandatory 10-day quarantine from October 4 (Sunday midnight), weeks after the UK imposed similar restrictions on Indian travellers.
The British travel rules also kick in from October 4.
This shows requests from the Indian side, and consequent changes in the Covid-19vaccination certificates in India by including the date of birth, has not cut ice with the British authorities.
Sources said discussions are “still ongoing”, and if London moves on the restrictions on Indian travellers over the weekend, New Delhi will also reciprocate.
A source said, “Our new regulations will come into effect from October 4, and will be applicable to all UK nationals arriving from the UK.”
This will include people of Indian origin as well, if they hold a British passport.
Sources said that from October 4, all UK nationals arriving in India from the UK, irrespective of their vaccination status, will have to undertake the following measures:
- Pre-departure Covid-19 RT-PCR test within 72 hours before travel,
- RT-PCR test on arrival at airport,
- RT-PCR test on Day 8 after arrival, and
- Mandatory quarantine at home or in destination address for 10 days after arrival in India.
Sources said that authorities in Health and Civil aviation ministries will take steps to implement the new measures.
On Thursday, after the British authorities raised concerns over India’s vaccination certificate format, which resulted in inoculated travellers from India being treated as unvaccinated, the National Health Authority (NHA) updated the certification to make it compliant with the specifications detailed in WHO’s Digital Documentation of Covid-19 Certificates: Vaccination Status format.
This mainly includes display of the vaccinated person’s date of birth on her/his vaccination certificate. “Building a world-class digital platform for vaccination, we have ensured CoWIN certification is compliant with the WHO-DDCC:VS data dictionary. Now, international travellers can download an international version of their certificate that reflects their date of birth from CoWIN,” NHA CEO R S Sharma tweeted on Thursday.
But the British authorities are yet to lift the quarantine rules for Indian travellers. In the UK, decisions on vaccine recognition are made by ministers, taking into account public health factors. New Delhi hopes that the reciprocal measures would expedite the bureaucratic process in London.
When contacted, a British High Commission spokesperson said on Friday, “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 spokesperson said, “The UK is open to travel and we’re already 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%…”
India’s move is not entirely unexpected, especially since Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla had said that External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar met British Foreign Secretary Truss in New York and raised the issue “strongly”.