UK Vs India: India Reciprocate With Tit For Tat COVID-19 Travel Measures!


It is indeed hard to believe that matters would come to a head between two friendly countries even after nearly two weeks of the United Kingdom’s unwarranted imposition of travel restrictionsfor Indian travelers. The Ministry of External Affairs of India then lodged a strong protest against such discriminatory and ‘colonial’ action and warned UK of reciprocal measures; and the UK government reportedly held extensive discussions with the Indian counterpart and decided to include Covishield, the Indian version of their own AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, in the approved list from the 4th of October 2021, but did nothing about lifting the 10-quarantine restriction even for fully vaccinated travelers refusing to accept the Indian vaccination certification procedure and thus still keeping India in the ‘amber’ list of travel regulations. This has greatly irked the Government of India and they announced the ‘reciprocal’ measures yesterday which are plainly a ‘tit for tat’.

 

From the 4th of October 2021, like the United Kingdom did after the backlash, the Government of India announced that the British travelers will have to undergo RT-PCR tests 72 hours before departure, another test on arrival in India and again on the 8th day of their mandatory 10-day quarantine at their Indian home or at their destination irrespective of their vaccination status of whatever vaccine. Again, the British High Commission in India got reportedly hyper-activated holding ‘extensive’ discussions with India once more, both authorities discussing the ‘technicalities’ of the COVID-19 vaccination certification that seemed to be dwelt upon much earlier too. The delay by the World Health Organization in giving the final go to the India-made Covaxin for emergency use is putting India at further disadvantage. It is to be seen now if the friendly bilateral relations between the two countries would be able to prevail upon both   to sort out the matter by the 4th of October, a date that would start adversely affecting travelers from both the countries.

 

Meanwhile, daily COVID-19 infections in India have been fluctuating again, after achieving the six-month low daily figure of around 18000 and daily deaths below the 200 mark. In the last 24 hours there were more than 24000 cases and 234 fatalities. Kerala, as usual, is leading; and the increase in the national numbers always reflects the rise in cases in Kerala, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Mizoram and to some extent West Bengal too where daily cases have again been crossing the 700 mark consistently. The step by the West Bengal government to stick to the same restrictions for Durga Puja, the biggest festival of the state, as adopted during 2020 except for lifting the night curfew during the Puja days only is most welcome and timely. Therefore, people of the state will have to take ‘darshan’ 10 meters away from the Puja pandals apart from the mandatory wearing of masks whereas only 25 members of the organizing committee would be allowed within the pandals for the big public pujas and only 12 members for the small pujas.

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