After India’s stern retaliation, the United Kingdom has finally come to its senses and backtracked on its earlier decision of not allowing Indian travellers vaccinated with the Indian variant of the Oxford-AstraZeneca developed Covishield vaccine. The UK on Thursday (October 7) stated that it will start accepting India’s technologically advanced vaccine certificates from October 11.
British High Commissioner to India Alex Ellis took to twitter to share the news. “No quarantine for India travellers to United Kingdom fully vaccinated with Covishield or another UK-approved vaccine from 11 October. Thanks to Indian government for close cooperation over last month,” he tweeted.
No quarantine for Indian 🇮🇳 travellers to UK 🇬🇧 fully vaccinated with Covishield or another UK-approved vaccine from 11 October.
Thanks to Indian government for close cooperation over last month. pic.twitter.com/cbI8Gqp0Qt
— Alex Ellis (@AlexWEllis) October 7, 2021
Colonial hangover and dripping racism
Reported by TFI, the United Kingdom, still stuck in its colonial hangover had passed a confounding rule last month, stating that Indian travellers who had received both doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca developed Covishield vaccine manufactured by the Serum Institute of India (SII), will be considered unvaccinated.
To add insult to injury, the rule added that double vaccinated Indians will have to undergo mandatory hard quarantine for 10 days. The new rules became operational on October 4, only to be revoked within three days.
To whitewash its racism and xenophobia, the British government, at the time had described the move as an attempt by the UK to change the current “red, amber, green traffic light system” to a single red list of countries and “simplify travel measures” for arrivals from around the world.
The decision had left the experts and the commoners perplexed because the majority of the population in the UK had been jabbed with the same vaccine that the Indians have been inoculated with. AstraZeneca and Oxford researched the vaccine while it was manufactured in India by SII in bulk quantities. Even SIIs CEO Adar Poonawalla had expressed his disappointment with the UK’s Covishield curb.
Tit for Tat from India
However, India under PM Modi, after taking up the matter with the Tories, retaliated in a ‘tit for tat’ manner, and on October 1 announced that British nationals arriving in India, irrespective of their vaccination status, will have to undergo 10 days of mandatory quarantine as part of the Covid protocol.
Hockey teams pulling out of CWG Birmingham
A double whammy came for the UK when Hockey India (HI) announced that the federation will not be sending its Tokyo Olympics bronze medallist men’s team, in addition to the women’s team to the Commonwealth Games, Birmingham, 2022.
Talking about the ‘discriminatory restrictions’ that were ‘biased against India’, HI chief, Gyanendro Ningombam said, “It is pertinent to mention that due to the ongoing Covid-19 situation, England have issued guidelines that 10 days quarantine is required (for) Indian arrivals in England even for those who are fully vaccinated since unfortunately Indian vaccinations are not yet recognized by the English government.”
Indian Hockey Teams pull out of Commonwealth Games 2022 in Birmingham to focus on Asian Games.
— Prasar Bharati News Services पी.बी.एन.एस. (@PBNS_India) October 5, 2021
He added: “Such discriminatory restrictions were not imposed on Indian athletes and officials during the recent Tokyo Olympic Games and this 10 days quarantine requirement for vaccinated sportspersons will affect their performances. We feel these restrictions are biased against India and term it as very unfortunate.”
EU tried a similar stunt, backtracked soon
This is not the first time that a certain country or a group of nations has to pay the price for its racism. As reported by TFI, the EU in June, much like the UK had denied vaccine passports to those inoculated with Covishield – and home-grown Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin.
Miffed by the discriminatory behaviour of the top European body, the government categorically stated that it will not recognize the EU’s digital Covid certificate until it recognizes Indian vaccines Covishield and Covaxin in the certificate.
Within 24 hours of showing its might and issuing a stern warning to the EU that New Delhi will put its travelling citizens in mandatory quarantine if they touchdown in India, the EU nations surrendered before the Modi government.
Difference a strong leadership can make ….. pic.twitter.com/fS4J5ZlOQy
— Rishi Bagree (@rishibagree) July 1, 2021
Sometimes it is necessary to engage in a bicep measuring contest. India showed the UK that this is the new reality where it is not the colonial superpower. India has long overtaken the UK’s economy and thus angering the current Modi regime meant that the British nation was simply shooting itself in the foot.