Today, the UK high commissioner Alex Ellis and National Health Authority chairman RS Sharma discussed vaccine certification for Indian travellers. The meeting comes a day after the UK approved India’s Covishield to its list of approved COVID-19 vaccines. However, both sides are yet to reach common ground on certification so that fully vaccinated Indian travellers can skip a 10-day quarantine on arrival.
Taking to Twitter, Ellis cited that neither side had raised technical concerns about each other’s certification process. Both the nations have stepped forward to sort out the vaccine row which has emerged in the open at a time when overall bilateral relations are on the upswing. The vaccine certification issue has become a problem as growing numbers of Indians, i.e., students, are travelling to the UK.
On Tuesday, India had warned it could resort to reciprocal measures as the controversy around UK’s new travel rules, which come into force on October 4, sparked allegations of racism. Responding to it, Ellis associated the issue with a significant shift in the UK’s travel policy.
On Wednesday, Sharma informed that both sides had two meetings this month to discuss technical aspects of each other’s certification systems. In the meeting, they discussed the
certification done through the CoWIN app, the security of the system, data sharing between the two sides, and reconciling the CoWIN system with the NHS Covid Pass developed by Britain’s National Health Service (NHS).
Similarly, Ellis also confirmed the NHS was in talks with officials managing CoWIN. He added that India continued to be in the UK’s amber list of countries as it still has some cases of Covid-19. Previously, Britain approving AstraZeneca but not Covishield led to allegations of racism.