NEW DELHI: A day after India threatened reciprocal measures on its discriminatory policy on vaccination, the UK on Wednesday included Covishield in its list of approved vaccines. However, Indian travellers will still have to undergo quarantine upon arrival as the British government is yet to recognise the vaccination certificate citing technical issues.
Later in the day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi alluded to the hassle and stressed the need for nations to mutually recognise vaccination certificates for ease of travel. “We need to focus on addressing the pandemic’s economic effects. To end the adverse effects on the economy, international travel should be made easier by mutually recognising vaccine certificates,” the prime minister said in his address at the virtual Global Covid Summit on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly.
According to the UK government’s amended guidelines, “Formulations of the four listed vaccines, such as AstraZeneca Covishield, AstraZeneca Vaxzevria and Modern Takeda, qualify as approved vaccines.” From 4 am on October 4, those who have taken vaccines from a relevant public health body and are from a specific list of countries, will be considered fully vaccinated. India does not figure on that list.
“We’re clear Covishield is not a problem. The UK is open to travel and we’re already seeing a lot of people going from India to the UK, be it tourists, business people or students,” said Alex Ellis, British High Commissioner to India. “We have been having detailed technical discussions regarding certification, with the builders of the CoWIN app and the NHS app, about both apps” he added.
At the virtual summit, Modi said India has managed to administer 800 million vaccine doses so far and the production of vaccines is also being ramped up. “As our production increases, we will be able to resume vaccine supplies to others too. For this, the supply chains of raw materials must be kept open.”
US President Joe Biden announced that his country will double its purchase of Pfizer’s shots to share with the world up to 1 billion doses, in keeping with the goal of vaccinating 70% of the global population by next year.
Rs 50,000 ex-gratia
NDMA has recommended that Rs 50,000 be given to the kin of those who died of Covid-19, the Centre informed the Supreme Court on Wednesday.