Paris (France) | Jagran News Desk: France on Sunday joined several other European countries to allow international travellers who have been inoculated with Serum Institute of India's Covishield -- the Indian-manufactured AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. However, French Prime Minister Jean Castex in a statement said that the country is tightening border checks to control the spread of the Delta Variant of COVID-19 and protect hospitals.

"Because the vaccines are effective against the virus, and in particular its variant Delta, the constraints weighing on travellers benefiting from a complete vaccination schedule with a vaccine recognised by the European Medicines Agency (Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca or Janssen) will be raised from this Saturday, July 17, regardless of the country of origin," he said.

France's move to approve Covishield comes after a global outcry over the fact that the European Union's COVID-19 certificate only recognises AstraZeneca vaccines manufactured in Europe. Several other EU countries already accept the Indian version, which is notably used in the United Kingdom (UK). The varied rules from each country have further complicated this summer's travel season.

Following is the full list of countries where Covishield has been approved:

* France

* Austria

* Belgium

* Bulgaria

* Finland

* Germany

* Greece

* Hungary

* Iceland

* Ireland

* Latvia

* Malta

* Netherlands

* Slovenia

* Spain

* Sweden

* Switzerland.

Covishield, along with Bharat Biotech's Covaxin, was approved by the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) for emergency use authorisation (EUA) in January this year that allowed India to start the world's largest vaccination drive against COVID-19. Currently, the country is using two more vaccines -- Sputnik V and Moderna -- for its massive inoculation drive.

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma