New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: After the UK changed its Covid-19 travel rules, placing Indians who are vaccinated with Covishield in the category of ‘unvaccinated' while relaxing the rules for those vaccinated with two doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine- the same version of which is being manufactured in India by the Pune-based Serum Institute of India, a lot public and political criticism has surfaced.

Several Indian politicians like Congress leader Jairam Ramesh and Shashi Tharoor slammed UK's new COVID-19 travel rules calling it "bizarre" and "racist".

Tharoor even opted out of a debate at the Cambridge Union and the launch events for the UK edition of his book 'The Battle Of Belonging' after the new travel rules and restrictions were rolled out.

Here's everything you need to know about UK's new COVID-19 travel rules and why are they offensive to Indians:

What are the new UK travel rules?

As per the new COVID-19 travel rules in UK to be implemented from October 4 (4 am) even fully vaccinated Indians will not be considered inoculated and they will have to undergo 10 days of quarantine before visiting the country.

According to the new travel rules, if a person has been vaccinated in Africa, or South America, or countries including UAE, India, Turkey, Jordan, Thailand, Russia, they will be considered unvaccinated and will have to follow quarantine rules.

Passengers will have to take a pre-departure test in the three days before they travel to England, a day 2 and day 8 PCR test after arrival, complete their passenger locator form any time in the 48 hours before they arrive, and self-isolate at their given address for 10 days upon entry.

Current travel rules

Currently, UK's travel rules divide countries into three different categories - Green, Amber, and Red. If a person has been in a ‘red list’ country in the 10 days before arrival in the UK, they have to quarantine for 10 days in a quarantine hotel and take a Covid-19 test on or before day 2 or after day 8 of quarantining. A penalty of up to £10,000 for violation of quarantine rules and £5,000 for arriving without a prior negative test is imposed.

If a person has been in the ‘amber list’ country in the 10 days before arrival in England, they have to take a Covid-19 test in the three days before travelling to England. After arrival, the traveller has to take a Covid-19 test on day 2. If the traveller arrives without proof of a negative Covid-19 test before departure, the fine is £500.

In the case of travellers from ‘green list’ countries they too need to take a test Covid-19 test three days before the trip to England. They also need to book a day-2 test after arrival in England. However, there is a blanket exemption from quarantine for the green list, unless the test result is positive on day 2.

Further, the prior test is necessary for fully vaccinated travellers too — but they are exempt from quarantine if they have taken the full course of an ‘authorised’ vaccine which includes two doses of the Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca vaccine or one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

What has changed?

From October 4, there will only be a single red list of countries in the UK. For travel from countries not on the red list, the rules will depend only on the traveller’s vaccination status. India has been kept out of the authorised vaccines list in the UK, even though India’s vaccination drive predominantly uses Covishield, a version of the AstraZeneca vaccine manufactured by the Serum Institute of India.

Posted By: Sugandha Jha