Britain’s so-called “simplified” international travel system that scrapes an amber list of countries with moderate COVID-19 risk went 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 – regardless of vaccination status – requiring the same level of PCR tests and a 10-day quarantine at the declared destination also effective 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, as well as 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.
The Department for Transport said, “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, bringing the total number of countries under the policy’s scope to more than 50.” ” .
India not being on the list of eligible countries means that travelers will have to take all three tests – pre-departure, Day 2 and Day 8 – and self-isolate at a declared address, with the option of “testing to release”. with. Isolation after a negative PCR test at day 5. This effectively remains unchanged from the status of India’s Amber List already.
Travelers from Red List countries, around 54, are required to undergo 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 in a phased approach to countries and regions around the world. We are working with the Government of India on technical collaboration to extend UK recognition of vaccine certification to those vaccinated by the relevant public. Continuing to connect with health bodies in India,” the sources said.
He said, “We are working with a range 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. Will go.”
The review mark fell this weekend, the first three weeks since the UK’s first announcement of updated travel norms.
UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said on Monday: “We are rapidly moving towards a future where travel resumes safely and remains open for good, and today’s rule changes will help families, businesses and families and businesses alike.” There is good news for the travel sector.”
“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.
(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)