Earlier this month, the United Kingdom scrapped their traffic light system of classifying countries for travel to the UK and went for a different approach, where they segregate countries who are not supposed to quarantine on arrival into the UK basis what vaccination have you been given, under which regulatory authority. They conveniently left Covishield out of their approved list for travel in the first round while approving AstraZeneca.
Covishield is now approved for travel to the United Kingdom
After a massive blowback and a strong statement from India that reciprocal measures will be implemented, the United Kingdom has now included Covishield in its list of accepted vaccines for Covid-19 for travel without quarantine to the UK. A new change on the Gov.UK website indicates this today:
From 4am Monday 4 October, you will qualify as fully vaccinated if you are vaccinated either:
- under an approved vaccination programme in the UK, Europe, USA or UK vaccine programme overseas
- with a full course of the Oxford/AstraZeneca, Pfizer BioNTech, Moderna or Janssen vaccines from a relevant public health body in Australia, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Bahrain, Brunei, Canada, Dominica, Israel, Japan, Kuwait, Malaysia, New Zealand, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan or the United Arab Emirates (UAE)
Formulations of the 4 listed vaccines, such as AstraZeneca Covishield, AstraZeneca Vaxzevria and Moderna Takeda, qualify as approved vaccines.
You must have had a complete course of an approved vaccine at least 14 days before you arrive in England.
Travel from India does not qualify for quarantine-free travel to the United Kingdom yet
However, the change of stance does not translate into quarantine free travel for those flying in from India, vaccinated under the Indian regulations for Covid-19 vaccination.
As of October 4, 2021, only those who have been vaccinated in Australia, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Bahrain, Brunei, Canada, Dominica, Israel, Japan, Kuwait, Malaysia, New Zealand, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan or the United Arab Emirates (UAE) will be allowed into the United Kingdom for quarantine-free travel. For one, India does not put out the Date of Birth on the certificates generated via CoWin at the moment.
Hence, even fully vaccinated travellers from India (with Covishield) will continue to quarantine in the UK on arrival under the new rules applicable from October 4, 2021.
Regardless of your vaccination status, travellers from India can travel to the UK after undertaking a pre-departure test and then make a Covid-19 test on/before Day 2 and on/after Day 8 and quarantine for ten days. Travellers can also choose to shorten their quarantine to five days under the test of release service.
While Covishield is now acceptable as a vaccine for travel into the UK, if you are vaccinated under the Indian vaccination programme, you will still be unable to travel to the UK without quarantine or test to release.
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