International

UK’s ‘simplified’ travel rules exclude vaccinated Indians

By PTI

LONDON: Britain’s so-called “simplified” international travel system that scrapes the Amber list of countries with moderate COVID-19 risk came into effect on Monday, but it does not provide any benefits for vaccinated Indians traveling to the UK.

The UK angered India by not recognizing fully vaccinated Indian travelers under new rules announced last month, despite the fact that globally qualified vaccine formulations include India-made Covishield.

India in retaliation imposed its reciprocal measures on all British travelers ?? Irrespective of vaccination status?? Similar level of PCR tests and 10-day quarantine are required at the declared destination, that too with effect from Monday.

“We continue to work with international partners, including India, to implement our phased approach,” a UK government spokesman said.

The UK’s new system covers more than 50 countries, including the US and European Union (EU) member-states and 18 other countries such as Canada, Japan and the United Arab Emirates.

Travelers from these countries can now travel to England without completing a pre-departure test, a one-day test, or entering a 10-day self-isolation period.

They only need a PCR test on the second day after arriving in the UK.

“This builds on the UK government’s successful pilot phase with Europe and the US, and with the addition of more countries and territories in the coming weeks, taking the total number of countries within the ambit of the policy to over 50, ?? said the department.

India not being in the list of eligible countries means that travelers need to take all three tests?? Pre Departure, Day 2 and Day 8?? and self-isolate at a declared address, with an option to “test to release” from isolation after a negative PCR test on day 5.

This effectively remains unchanged from the pre-existing Amber List status of India.

Travelers from Red List countries, around 54 in total, are required to undertake a mandatory 10-day quarantine in government-designated hotels, a requirement the UK government is considering scrapping for a majority on the Red List. later this month.

From the middle of this month, the British government also plans to replace PCR tests with inexpensive lateral flow tests for vaccinees.

However, the timeline and details of this change are unclear.

Meanwhile, UK government sources said over the weekend that the expansion of vaccine certification to additional countries would be reviewed approximately every three weeks and that it would continue talks with the Indian government on the issue.

“The UK continues to work to expand the policy to countries and regions around the world in a phased approach.

We are continuing to engage with the Government of India on technical collaboration to extend UK accreditation of vaccine certification to people vaccinated by a relevant public health body in India. Sources said.

“We are working with an array of international partners and look forward to continuing to expand the policy to countries and regions around the world in a phased approach. The expansion of vaccine certification will be reviewed approximately every three weeks, ? ? They said.

The review mark of the first three weeks since the first announcement of the UK’s updated travel norms fell this weekend.

UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said on Monday: “We are moving towards a future where travel resumes safely and remains open for good, and today’s rule changes are in place for families, businesses and the travel sector.” Good news for you.”

“Our priority is to protect public health, but with more than 8 out of 10 people now fully vaccinated, we are doing this to reduce the cost of testing and help the region continue in its recovery. able to take action,?? he said.

Everyone arriving in the UK from any country must fill out a passenger locator form prior to travel.

Meanwhile, the UK travel industry has welcomed the government’s latest move to ease testing and quarantine restrictions.

Tim Alderslade, chief executive of Airlines UK, which represents UK carriers, said: “Things are moving in the right direction and the removal of these restrictions will make it easier and cheaper for people to travel.” However, he added that the UK remains “an outlier on arrival testing for vaccinated passengers”.

Airlines UK expects more countries to be removed from the red list in the next update and more recognition of vaccine status for vaccinators in other countries, they were quoted as saying by the BBC.

Willie Walsh, head of industry body International Air Transport Association, welcomed the change as a “positive step”, saying the government’s testing and quarantine restrictions were both unscientific and costly.

“People have been led to believe that the risk is people flying into the country. The risk was inside the country,” he said.

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