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Vaccine apartheid: Jaishankar raises Covid quarantine issue during his meeting with UK counterpart

New York, September 21

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar urged for an “early resolution” of the Covid quarantine issue and discussed the situation in Afghanistan and the developments in the Indo-Pacific during his meeting with the newly appointed British Foreign Secretary Elizabeth Truss.

Jaishankar arrived here on Monday to participate in the high-level 76th session of the UN General Assembly. Shortly after his arrival in the city, he held bilateral meetings with Norwegian Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Soreide, Iraqi Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein and the UK’s new Foreign Secretary.

“Pleased to meet new UK Foreign Secretary @trussliz. Discussed the progress of Roadmap 2030. Appreciated her contribution on the trade side. Exchanged views on developments in Afghanistan and the Indo-Pacific. Urged early resolution of quarantine issue in mutual interest,” Jaishankar tweeted.

The meeting in New York between Jaishankar and Truss came the same day as the UK announced new Covid-related travel restrictions that sparked sharp criticism and concerns in India.

What do new restrictions mean to Indian travellers

According to new rules, Indian travellers who have received both doses of the Covishield vaccine manufactured by the Serum Institute of India (SII) will be considered unvaccinated and will have to undergo self-isolation for 10 days.

From October 4, the current “traffic light system” of red, amber, green countries based on levels of Covid risk will be replaced by one red list of countries.

The scrapping of the amber list, which is what India is currently on, means a reduced PCR test cost burden only for some travellers.

The expanded list of countries whose vaccines are recognised in the UK does not include India.

It means Indians vaccinated with Covishield, the SII-produced Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, would be required to undergo compulsory PCR tests as well as self-isolation. PTI

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