Pinpricks of Discrimination in Britain’s Covid Rules for Indian Travellers Now in Effect

Confounding course: So nothing changes for Indians for travel to the UK as of October 4, and yet so much does. Indians had to undergo a 10-day quarantine on arrival at a place of their choice earlier, and they continue to do so from now on. What changes is that they continue under a cloud of discrimination as of October 4. Nationals of several countries who have had the same AstraZeneca vaccine will not have to face quarantine, Indians will continue to. The British have not explained why.

The fine print: An explanation may lie in the UK requirements on the minimum a certificate must include. It must be issued by a national or state-level public health authority, “and include as a minimum”: forename and surname(s), date of birth, vaccine brand and manufacturer, date of vaccination for every dose, country or territory of vaccination and/or certificate issuer. The Indian government says certificates for travellers can be updated with the date of birth. But that has not convinced the British.

Trust deficit: As the UK requirement stands, the Indian certification is not good enough. But a certificate from Antigua and Barbuda, Bahrain, Barbados, Cayman Islands, Dominica, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia for example is. This then is how far the UK trusts a country with which it declares it’s due to build a great new relationship.

Boris visit may be blurred by quarantine row: UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is due to visit India this month, going by earlier declarations. Will he have to quarantine for ten days on arrival? Clearly not. But the very exception that would be made for him will make sure that this issue clouds his entire visit, and undermine all that India and the UK may declare to do together. The UK is really undercutting itself.

Sanguine about Sanskrit: On Gandhi Jayanti on October 2, the Indian High Commission together with the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan launched virtual Sanskrit-speaking classes in a ten-week course: October 2 to December 4. The classes will run from 4pm to 5 pm. The Bhavan has run successful programmes earlier on teaching spoken Sanskrit, which many have found easier than they feared at first.​

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