UK travel rule for India 'offensive', 'smacks of racism', say Congress' Tharoor and Ramesh

#Congress MP Shashi Tharoor, #coronavirus, #COVID-19 UK, #COVID-19 vaccine, #UK Travel policy, September 17, 2021, @cambridgeunion, #TheBattleOfBelonging, #TheStruggleForIndiasSoul, September 20, 2021

Congress MP Shashi Tharoor (File Photo)

Senior Congress leaders Shashi Tharoor and Jairam Ramesh have slammed the United Kingdom government’s new travel policy for India, calling it offensive and racist.

The new rules, as explained by aviation analyst Alex Macheras, say a person vaccinated in Africa, or South America, or countries including UAE, India, Turkey, Jordan, Thailand, Russia, will still be considered unvaccinated and must follow the rules for the unvaccinated—10 days of home quarantine and tests.

UK government confirm tonight that if a person has been vaccinated in Africa, or South America, or countries including UAE, India, Turkey, Jordan, Thailand, Russia…

…you are considered “unvaccinated” and must follow “unvaccinated” rules = 10 day home quarantine & tests

— Alex Macheras (@AlexInAir) September 17, 2021

Also Read | Countries need to harmonise vaccine certification on priority: Adar Poonawalla

Tharoor, who is the party MP from Thiruvanthapuram, quoting Macheras ‘ tweets, said he pulled out of a debate at Cambridge Union and withdrew from the events for the launch of the UK edition of his book The Battle of Belonging. “It is offensive to ask fully vaccinated Indians to quarantine. The Brits are reviewing!”, Tharoor tweeted.

Because of this I have pulled out of a debate at the @cambridgeunion &out of launch events for the UK edition of my book #TheBattleOfBelonging (published there as #TheStruggleForIndiasSoul). It is offensive to ask fully vaccinated Indians to quarantine. The Brits are reviewing! https://t.co/YEVy3Ez5dj

— Shashi Tharoor (@ShashiTharoor) September 20, 2021

Quoting the same thread, his party colleague and Rajya Sabha MP Jairam Ramesh said UK’s travel policy was “absolutely bizarre”. He tweeted the policy “smacks of racism”.

Absolutely bizarre considering Covishield was originally developed in the UK and The Serum Institute, Pune has supplied to that country too! This smacks of racism. https://t.co/GtKOzMgydf

— Jairam Ramesh (@Jairam_Ramesh) September 20, 2021

Also Read | India to resume exports of surplus COVID-19 vaccines from October under Vaccine Maitri programme

On September 17, the UK government announced that from October 4, the current traffic light system of red, amber and green countries based on levels of COVID-19 risk would be scrapped and replaced with one red list only.

The scrapping of the amber list, which includes India, means a reduced cost burden for travellers, especially for the Indian diaspora vaccinated in the UK.

However, an expanded list of countries whose vaccines are recognised in England does not include India, which means that Indians vaccinated with Covishield, the Serum Institute of India produced Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, would have to undergo a pre-departure PCR test and further tests on landing in the UK, news agency PTI said.

Under the new rules, people from India will have to undergo a 10-day quarantine in the UK and during the period they will have to test for Covid-19.

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