‘Engaging with India on vaccine certification recognition’: UK responds to reciprocal quarantine measures

"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 British High Commission spokesperson said in a statement.

Responding to India’s decision to impose reciprocal quarantine measures on British nationals arriving in the country, the UK has said that it will continue to engage with India to expand recognition of Covid-19 vaccine certification. This comes after India announced that UK nationals arriving here from Britain will have to undergo mandatory 10-day quarantine from October 4, weeks after the UK imposed similar restrictions on Indian travellers.

“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 British High Commission spokesperson said in a statement, according to ANI.

Reaffirming that it is open to travel, the UK pointed out that a lot of tourists, students and business people have been visiting the country this year. “Over 62,500 student visas have been issued in the year ending June 2021, which is an increase of almost 30% as compared to the previous year. We want to make the process of travelling as easy as possible,” the spokesperson said.

The recent skirmish stems from India’s attempts to get the UK to recognise the Serum Institute of India’s Covishield vaccine as legitimate. Last month, India had warned of reciprocal action against the UK’s “discriminatory” move to recognise AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine but not Covishield.

“Our new regulations will come into effect from October 4, and will be applicable to all UK nationals arriving from the UK,” a source told the Indian Express. The British travel rules also kick in from October 4. Sources said discussions are “still ongoing”, and if London moves on the restrictions on Indian travellers over the weekend, New Delhi will also reciprocate.

On Thursday, after 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.

With this, the vaccinated person’s date of birth is displayed on her/his vaccination certificate.

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