COVISHIELD Photograph:( Reuters )
UK has updated its travel rules after fierce criticism from India
In a fresh update to its travel rules, UK said on Wednesday that Covishield, the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine manufactured by Serum Institute of India, was an approved vaccine. The development has come after fierce criticism for UK's travel advisory that mandated 10-day quarantine even for fully vaccinated Indians. However, certificates issued by India remains a grey area in the eyes of the UK as Indian public health bodies have not been recognised by the UK.
The new travel advisory that will be implemented from October 4 at 4 a.m. says, "Formulations of the four listed vaccines -- AstraZeneca Covishield, AstraZeneca vaxzevria and Moderna Takeda qualify as approved vaccines." It adds further, "You must have had a complete course of an approved vaccine at least 14 days before you arrive in England".
However, the new travel advisory said that until October 4, mixed vaccines are only permitted if you are vaccinated under the UK, Europe, USA or UK overseas vaccination program.
About vaccine certificates, UK High Commission said on Tuesday that UK government was "working with India to expand recognition of vaccine certification." This indicated doubts about vaccine certification in India.
This suggests that though Covishield has been approved by the UK, Indian travellers may still have to undergo quarantine on arrival in UK.
A British High Commission spokesperson said, "The UK is committed to opening up international travel again as soon as is practicable and this announcement is a further step to enable people to travel more freely again, in a safe and sustainable way, while protecting public health. We are engaging with the Government of India to explore how we could expand UK recognition of vaccine certification to people vaccinated by a relevant public health body in India."
(With inputs from agencies)