2021-10-01 16:20:52 India Retaliates Against Britain by Requiring U.K. Visitors to Quarantine
India Retaliates Against Britain by Requiring U.K. Visitors to Quarantine
India announced on Friday that it would require visitors from the United Kingdom to be quarantined regardless of vaccination status, as a retaliatory measure after weeks of talks to reverse a similar move by the United Kingdom appeared to be deadlocked.
Last month, the British government relaxed quarantine requirements for vaccinated visitors from over a dozen countries. However, its decision to exclude Indians who had been fully immunized with Covishield — an Indian-made version of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine used in the UK — sparked a strong backlash in India, and the government threatened retaliation.
For nearly two weeks, officials from both countries claimed they were in talks to resolve what India’s foreign secretary, Harsh Vardhan Shringla, described as a “discriminatory” move. He claimed that Britain was essentially refusing to recognize the vaccine that India had given it in the form of five million doses when Britain was struggling with its immunization drive.
In interviews with Indian news outlets, the British high commissioner in New Delhi, Alex Ellis, stated that the vaccine itself was not the problem. Rather, he suggested that the problem was with India’s vaccine certification app, CoWIN, and that developers of CoWIN and the UK’s National Health Service were negotiating a solution.
According to a senior Indian government official, travelers from the United Kingdom will be required to present a PCR Covid test prior to their flight, undergo tests upon arrival and after eight days, and remain in quarantine for ten days.
The official stated that the decision did not imply that the talks had failed, but that India was retaliating as the British measure went into effect on Monday. According to the official, if Britain changed its policies, India would follow suit.
On Twitter, Kanchan Gupta, an Indian government adviser, said that Britain was getting a “taste of its own medicine.”
“After much patience and explanation,” he wrote, “India reciprocates.”
After being devastated by two waves of Covid, India has managed to contain the outbreak for the time being. Concerns about a possible third wave have subsided as daily cases and deaths have dropped to their lowest levels in months and the country ramps up its vaccination campaign.
Nearly 900 million vaccine doses have been administered, and approximately 240 million of the country’s 900 million adults have been fully vaccinated.