New Delhi [India], September 20 (ANI): The United Kingdom is engaging with the Indian government to explore ways to expand its recognition of COVID-19 vaccine certification to people vaccinated by a relevant public health body in India, the British High Commission here said on Monday.
A British High Commission spokesperson said that the UK is committed to opening up international travel again as soon as is practicable.
"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," the spokesperson said.
Congress leaders Shashi Tharoor and Jairam Ramesh had earlier slammed UK's decision to consider people vaccinated in India as unvaccinated and the need for them to go through 10-day quarantine.
Britain had on Friday announced to simplify rules for international travel to England, including scrapping the need for fully vaccinated passengers to take expensive Covid-19 tests on arrival from low-risk countries.
Under the new rules, people from India, Africa, South America and several other countries flying to the UK have to undergo a 10-day quarantine, during which period they will have to get tested for COVID-19.
Tharoor, MP from Thiruvananthapuram, said it is offensive to ask fully vaccinated Indians to quarantine. The MP also said he has pulled out of a debate at Cambridge Union and out of launch events for the UK edition of his book.
"Because of this, I have pulled out of a debate at the @cambridgeunion and out of launch events for the UK edition of my book #TheBattleOfBelonging (published there as #TheStruggleForIndiasSoul). It is offensive to ask fully vaccinated Indians to quarantine. The Brits are reviewing!," Tharoor said in a tweet.
Jairam Ramesh termed UK's restrictions "absolutely bizarre".
"Absolutely bizarre considering Covishield was originally developed in the UK and The Serum Institute, Pune has supplied to that country too! This smacks of racism," he said in a tweet.
The UK announced a new clearer travel system: red list and rest of world on September 17.
The guidelines stipulate that regardless of vaccination status, travellers from India must take a pre-departure test, and must take a COVID 19 test on or before day 2 and on or after day 8, and self-isolate for 10 days.
Travellers can also choose to shorten their home quarantine to around 5 days under the 'Test to Release' service. (ANI)