Kenya, Nairobi (AP) —Travelers and authorities from India and some African countries have called the UK’s new COVID-19 travel rules furious, confused and discriminatory. Last week, the British government announced what it claimed as a simplification of the rules. This includes allowing fully vaccinated travelers arriving in the UK from many parts of the world
Kenya, Nairobi (AP) —Travelers and authorities from India and some African countries have called the UK’s new COVID-19 travel rules furious, confused and discriminatory.
Last week, the British government announced what it claimed as a simplification of the rules. This includes allowing fully vaccinated travelers arriving in the UK from many parts of the world to skip quarantine and receive fewer tests.
However, the details of who was considered “fully vaccinated” have proven to be much more complex. To skip self-quarantine, travelers must be vaccinated under a US, UK, or European program or receive a UK-approved shot from an approved health agency. Organizations from more than 12 countries in Asia, the Caribbean and the Middle East have joined the list, but not in India and not in Africa.
Countries like Kenya, which have been vaccinated with hundreds of thousands of AstraZeneca vaccines from the UK itself, were wondering why their vaccination program didn’t look good enough to the British government. .. Some people wonder if the doses available there will not be measured, which leads to concerns that the rules may exacerbate the vaccine hesitation already worried in Africa.
The Kenyan government has become aware of “grave public concerns” following the new rules. Angelique Kotze, president of the South African Medical Association, said citizens were “discriminated against” and “totally unacceptable.” South African authorities opposed not only the new quarantine regulations, but also the fact that the country remains on the so-called Red List in the United Kingdom. All trips from this list are severely restricted.
The Hindustan Times, one of India’s leading English daily newspapers, called this decision “illogical and harmful” in its editorial.
Shashi Tharoor, the leader of India’s major opposition parliamentary party, said he had protested and canceled his next UK book tour. “Why should Indians be considered less varieties than others?” He wrote on Quint’s news website on Tuesday.
The UK Department for Transport, which issued the rules, did not immediately respond to requests for comment. But since the first anger, the UK has receded one aspect that caused certain astonishments: the dose of AstraZeneca made in India, known as Covishield, was not on the list of initially approved vaccines. bottom. Products made in India are not officially approved by UK regulators, but some doses are used in the UK and millions are shipped to low and middle income countries.
Cobishield was added to the UK Travel Approved Vaccine List on Wednesday, but the group of approved public health agencies remained unchanged. In other words, the practical effect of movement is limited. Anger at Kobishield was especially noted in India, where the majority of people are vaccinated with shots.
India’s Foreign Minister Hirsch Baldan Schlingla told reporters this week before Kobishield was added to the UK travel list:
If the problem persists, Schlingla said India could be forced to “impose reciprocal measures” by rules coming into force next month.
The government has not yet officially commented on the change, but Indians have continued to anger on social media since then.
“Indian digital certification is much more reliable than manual systems in other countries. Is the UK trying to make money with PCR tests?” Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, founder of Indian pharmaceutical company Biocon I tweeted.
For African countries, the new UK rule is a faint hope following this week’s announcement by India to resume exports and donations of surplus coronavirus vaccines in October after months of freezing due to a surge in domestic infections. Is a retreat.
Many are discouraged as less than 4% of Africa’s population of 1.3 billion is fully vaccinated and richer countries argue that they will stockpile doses and give their population a third shot. I’m watching.
Beyond supply issues, many African countries suffer from vaccine hesitation as false information swirls about shots.
The Kenyan health minister and the British ambassador to Kenya issued a joint statement on Tuesday, which appeared to be aimed at alleviating the latest concerns.
“We want to make it clear that both the UK and Kenya are aware of the vaccines given in both countries, especially AstraZeneca, Modana, Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson,” they said.
However, “it will take time to establish a system for mutual recognition of each other’s vaccine certificates for the vaccine passport program,” they said, adding that neither country had completed the process.
Kirka reported from London and Saarik from New Delhi. Contributed by Associated Press writer Mogomotsi Magome of Johannesburg and Gerald Imray of Cape Town, South Africa.
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