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India has mandated all UK nationals arriving into the South Asian country to undergo quarantine measures from October 4, people with knowledge of the matter said, a move that follows Britain’s refusal to recognize fully-vaccinated Indian travelers.
All UK nationals traveling to India, irrespective of their vaccination status, will have to undertake a pre-departure Covid test, two more tests after arrival and quarantine themselves for 10 days, the people said, asking not to be identified as the matter wasn‘t public. India’s move is a reciprocal restriction to one UK has placed on travelers, they said.
India’s latest move threatens a full blown diplomatic row with UK after it lifted quarantine requirements for fully-dosed citizens arriving from nations such as the US, Israel and Australia but retained restrictions for large swathes of the world including India and South Africa. The measure applies even if the visitor has had a vaccine approved and used in the UK, such as the Pfizer Inc.-BioNTech SE version or the shot produced by AstraZeneca Plc and Oxford University.
India’s Foreign Secretary Harsh Shringla had called the non-recognition of AstraZeneca shots manufactured by the Serum Institute of India “discriminatory” and warned that “reciprocal action” would be considered if the issue wasn’t resolved.
The UK adjusted its policy to include the AstraZeneca Covishield shot widely used in India as an approved vaccine, but the Asian country still isn’t on the list of acceptable places to receive a dose. As a result, people who received Covishield in the U.K. count as vaccinated, while those who got it in India do not.
On Thursday evening, President Cyril Ramaphosa said he called Prime Minister Boris Johnson about the continued travel ban imposed on South Africa by the UK. Ramaphosa was hopeful that there will be a “positive outcome”.
– With assistance from Swansy Afonso and Sudhi Ranjan Sen. Additional reporting by Fin24.
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