UK’s new travel policy – Covishield added in Accepted list of Vaccines


The United Kingdom has included AstraZeneca Covishield in its list of accepted vaccines against Covid-19.
However, as of now, that does not translate into relief for quarantine for fully vaccinated (with WHO-approved Covishield) travellers from India under the relaxed rules that come into force from October 4.
The UK has raised doubts over Indian Covid vaccination certification process. Due to this, even fully vaccinated travellers (with Covishield) from India will continue to quarantine in the UK on arrival under relaxed rules for non red list, or rest of world, countries applicable from October 4.

India, which is no longer on UK’s red list, and UK are working to resolve this issue. This means that even fully vaccinated Indians travelling to the UK would have to undergo a 10-day mandatory quarantine upon their entry into the country, in addition to a pre-departure and post-arrival Covid test.

British High Commissioner said that The UK is open to travel and we’re already seeing a lot of people going from India to the UK, be it tourists, business people or students. Over 62,500 student visas have been issued in the year ending June 2021, which is an increase of almost 30% as compared to the previous year. We want to make the process of travelling as easy as possible.

The prior test is necessary for fully vaccinated travellers — but they are exempt from quarantine if they have taken the full course of an ‘authorised’ vaccine. ‘Authorised’ includes two doses of the Pfizer, Moderna, or AstraZeneca vaccine (traveller must have the final dose at least 14 days before arrival in England), or one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Can unvaccinated Indians travel to the UK?

Yes. Unvaccinated travellers can travel to the United Kingdom, provided they take a pre-departure Covid-19 test, book and pay for day 2 and day 8 tests to be taken after the arrival in England and complete a passenger locator form anytime in the 48 hours before arriving in England.

If the UK government does not recognise Co-Win certificate, there will effectively be no difference between vaccinated or unvaccinated Indians as everyone will have to undergo the mandatory quarantine period. Since there is still time for the new vaccine rules to become effective, it is expected that both governments will work out a solution where people fully vaccinated with Covishield will be exempt from quarantine.

On the other hand, EU citizens who have been vaccinated outside the block will have their status as a fully vaccinated person only if the same have been vaccinated from a public health authority 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)

What happens after you land in UK

From later in October, people coming to England will no longer have to take a PCR test two days after arrival.

Instead, they’ll be able to take a cheaper and simpler lateral flow test.

The government hopes to make this change in time for the half-term school break.

As yet, no other UK nation has said it will follow suit in this.

Scotland says it will “align with the UK post-arrival testing regime” but has not announced further details.

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