UK’s new vaccine rule for India ‘smacks of racism’, say Shashi Tharoor, Jairam Ramesh
According to the new guidelines, even people vaccinated against Covid-19 in India will be considered unvaccinated and have to undergo 10-day quarantine.
Congress leaders Shashi Tharoor and Jairam Ramesh on Monday criticised the United Kingdom government’s decision to consider people vaccinated in certain countries, including India, as unvaccinated.
According to the UK government’s new travel rules, people vaccinated in Africa and South America, and in countries including India, the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Jordan, Thailand and Russia will be considered unvaccinated.
These passengers will have to undergo a 10-day quarantine on arrival in the United Kingdom. The new rules will be effective from October 4.
Tharoor said on Twitter that on account of the rules, he has refused to attend an event at the debating society of The Cambridge Union and has also pulled out of events pertaining to the UK edition of his book.
“It is offensive to ask fully vaccinated Indians to quarantine,” he said. “The Brits are reviewing!”
Ramesh noted that the Pune-based vaccine manufacturer Serum Institute of India has supplied shots to the UK, and said that the country’s decision “smacks of racism”.
A spokesperson for the British High Commission said on Monday that the UK government was engaging with the Centre “to explore how we could expand UK recognition of vaccine certification to people vaccinated by a relevant public health body in India”, ANI reported.
The Serum Institute of India is the Indian manufacturer of the coronavirus vaccine – locally called Covishield – developed by Oxford University and British-Swedish pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca.
Covishield was first rolled out in India when the countrywide Covid-19 inoculation drive began on January 16.
On August 8, the UK moved India from its “red” list to its “amber” list, meaning that fully vaccinated travellers from India would no longer have to quarantine in a hotel for 10 days.
However, the new rules have done away with this classification. Instead, there will be one “red” list of countries, and passengers from all other countries will be covered under simplified travel rules.