NEW DELHI: In a tit for tat move, India has now mandated 10-day quarantine for all arrivals from the UK.
The health ministry has issued new guidelines for UK arrivals, reciprocating UK’s decision not to waive off quarantine for fully vaccinated (with WHO approved Covishield) travellers from India starting October 4- something being allowed for people coming from most non red list (which India is too) countries.
Under the new rules, irrespective of their vaccination status, those flying from UK to India need to, among other things, “undergo mandatory quarantine at home or at the destination address for 10 days after arrival in India. All such passengers under isolation/quarantine shall be regularly monitored.”
So Indians returning home or NRIs/PIOs can quarantine at their homes here at no extra cost. But those who do not have a home or other place of stay here, will need to quarantine in a hotel for 10 days- an expensive thing that visitors from India also do in some countries. This will mainly affect foreigners (with no base here) coming to India.
Reacting to India’s decision, a British high commission spokesperson said: “The UK is continuing to work on expanding the policy to countries and territories across the globe in a phased approach. We are continuing to engage with the government of India on technical cooperation to expand UK recognition of vaccine certification to people vaccinated by a relevant public health body in India.”
“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 spokesperson added.
While Indian and UK authorities have been in talks over this discrimination for weeks now, the rules have so far not been relaxed for Indian travellers to UK from next Monday. India’s new rules will be applicable from the same date, October 4.
“Considering the trajectory of Covid-19 cases in United Kingdom and presence of all four Variants of Concern, the travel advisory as issued by this ministry is being modified,” the Union health ministry said in a communication to the aviation ministry.
The guidelines for travelers from UK from October 4 will be:
Pre-Boarding: All travelers should (i) submit self-declaration form on the online “Air Suvidha” portal (www.newdelhiairport.in) before the scheduled travel (ii) upload a negative COVID-19 RT- PCR report. This test should have been conducted within 72 hours prior to undertaking the journey. Each passenger shall also submit a declaration with respect to authenticity of the report and will be liable for criminal prosecution, if found otherwise,” the communication says.
On Arrival: Travelers irrespective of their vaccination status, arriving in India will undertake COVID-19 RT-PCR test on arrival at airport and on day 8 after arrival at their own cost and will undergo mandatory quarantine at home or at the destination address for 10 days after arrival in India. All such passengers under isolation/quarantine shall be regularly monitored by State/District Health Authorities. The State-wise passenger manifest of the flights originating from United Kingdom shall be conveyed by the Bureau of Immigration to State Government/Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP) [email@example.com] .”
These guidelines shall come in force from 4 October 2021 midnight (IST).
“Ministry of Civil Aviation is requested to institute necessary mechanisms at all international airports/airlines, addressing travellers from United Kingdom. Further, Ministry of External Affairs through High Commission of India, London is requested to provide advance intimation to the UK side that the above-mentioned measures are being put in place, it adds.