Covishield fine, but not Indian certification: U.K.

Covishield fine, but not Indian certification: U.K.

However, discussion on vaccination certificates still on.

The United Kingdom on Wednesday formally recognised COVID-19 vaccine Covishield produced by the Serum Institute of India (SII). The recognition will become effective from 4 a.m. of October 4. It was, however, told to The Hindu that discussion on vaccination certificates was still on.

Wednesday’s announcement did not include any change in India’s position in the ‘Amber List’, while the U.K. has cleared 18 countries for the ‘Green List’.

The development came a day after External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar met his British counterpart Liz Truss in New York on the sidelines of the ongoing United Nations General Assembly and urged the U.K. to address the issue around the status of Covishield and the requirement of quarantine for 10 days in case of Indian travellers.

The Hindu reported on Wednesday that recognition of Covishield is not a problem for the U.K. and the real challenge has been about India’s vaccination certificates.

U.K. High Commission officials said they were still in discussion “over vaccination certification with the Government of India”, indicating that a final decision on whether to include India in the list of recognised vaccine administrators has not yet been made.

Only ‘Red List’ from Oct. 4

British High Commissioner Alex Ellis in an interview with NDTV on Wednesday highlighted that “lots of people” were travelling from India to the U.K. and that his country had conducted “detailed conversation” internally on India’s vaccine certificates. From 4 a.m. of October 4, the U.K. will do away with the traffic light system of ‘Red, Amber and Green’ lists and create a single ‘Red List’ to ensure greater ease.

London has cleared 18 nations, including Canada, Denmark, Antigua and Barbuda, for the ‘Green List’, which will allow doubly vaccinated travellers from these countries to fly to the U.K. without quarantine requirement. The current rules and the recognition of Covishield means that a traveller from the ‘Green List’ countries can use Covishield vaccine before flying to the U.K., but an Indian traveller from India will still have to undergo quarantine lasting 10 days despite using the same vaccine.

According to the latest announcement, the U.K.-approved vaccines will have to be administered 14 days before travelling to that country. Britain took India out of the ‘Red List’ and placed it in the ‘Amber List’ on August 8 that removed the requirement of hotel or institutional quarantine for Indian travellers but retained the need for home quarantine for 10 days. There were no changes in India’s position in the ‘Amber List’ and the requirement of quarantined private stay lasting 10 days has also been retained.

On Tuesday, Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla stated that India could impose “reciprocal measures” if the U.K. continued with its policy on Covishield. He termed it “discriminatory”.

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