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India retaliates to UK travel curbs by requiring COVID tests and quarantine for Britons

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British nationals visiting India will be subjected to COVID-19 tests and a 10-day quarantine, India has said, in retaliation for the same measures being imposed on Indians visiting the UK.

The south Asian nation has been demanding Britain revokes what it called a “discriminatory” advisory that includes Indians even after they are fully vaccinated with the Indian-made AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine.

India’s external affairs minister S Jaishankar discussed the issue with Foreign Secretary Liz Truss when they met in New York earlier this week.

India is frustrated that while the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine has been officially recognised by Britain, its version, which is produced by the Serum Institute of India, has been excluded.

An Indian foreign ministry official said all British arrivals will have to undertake an RT-PRC test within 72 hours of travelling to India, as well as another test on arrival and a third one eight days later – regardless of their vaccination status.

They will also have to quarantine at home or at their destination address for 10 days, the official told the Associated Press.

The vast majority of Indians have received the Indian-made AstraZeneca shots, while others have been jabbed with COVAXIN, a vaccine produced by an Indian company that is not in use in Britain.

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The new rules for British nationals entering India will come into effect on Monday.

The issue began when the UK government announced it was simplifying its travel rules including allowing fully vaccinated travellers arriving in England from much of the world to skip quarantine and take fewer tests.

But some of the fine details on who was considered fully vaccinated have proved complicated.

In order to skip self-isolation, travellers must have received a vaccine under the American, British or European programmes or have received a UK-authorised shot from an approved health body.

Bodies in more than a dozen countries in Asia, the Caribbean and the Middle East made it to the list.

However, India’s programme was not included, nor were any programmes in Africa.