The move comes after New Delhi called Britain’s decision not to recognize the Indian vaccine Covishield “discriminatory”.
Fully vaccinated British citizens arriving in India will be subject to a mandatory 10-day quarantine, in response to similar measures imposed on Indian citizens.
The move comes after Indian Foreign Minister Harsh Vardhan Shringla called Britain’s decision not to recognize India’s version of the AstraZeneca vaccine, known as Covishield, “discriminatory”. He had warned of reciprocal action if London did not reconsider.
From Monday, all UK arrivals – regardless of their vaccination status – will be required to present a negative COVID-19 test taken up to 72 hours before departure, a second test on arrival and a third eight days later.
A mandatory 10-day quarantine period will also be enforced, according to a State Department official who spoke to the Associated Press news agency.
The UK government announced last month that it would allow fully vaccinated travelers to skip quarantine and undergo fewer tests, but only vaccinations recognized under the US, UK or European programs or those approved by a recognized health authority.
More than a dozen countries in Asia, the Caribbean and the Middle East made the list, but India’s program was not included. Likewise, no program was accepted on the African continent.
The vast majority of Indians have been vaccinated with Indian-made AstraZeneca injections, which are produced by Serum Institute of India. Others have been given COVAXIN, a vaccine produced by an Indian company that is not used in Britain.
India, the world’s largest vaccine producer, announced earlier this week that it would resume donations of surplus coronavirus vaccines after freezing exports amid a surge in domestic infections.
Britain’s refusal to accept certain vaccine certificates has raised concerns that it could exacerbate hesitation about the vaccine.
Countries that received hundreds of thousands of doses of the UK government’s AstraZeneca vaccine wondered why their vaccination programs were not good enough in the eyes of the supplier.
Britain is one of the worst performers in the COVAX program, with industrialized countries reallocating vaccines to poorer countries.
Rob Yates, director of the global health program at the Chatham House think tank in London, told the AP that British policies were “an indication of the lack of solidarity shown by governments and by politicians”.
“It’s a pity we see each other. In terms of humanity and for us, this is all we want to avoid,” Yates said. We want a lot more collaboration.”