UK holiday plans fall flat for Kol families jabbed with Covishield

Kolkata: Families in Kolkata, who had plans to visit relatives and friends in the UK during the Puja vacation, are extremely disappointed over the Boris Johnson government’s decision not to recognise Covishield Covid-19 vaccine that is administered in India, though it is the same as the AstraZeneca vaccine given in the UK.
The travel trade community, too, is bewildered at the discriminatory attitude and says that it will not only discourage Indians from travelling to the UK during the Durga Puja and Christmas holidays but also adversely impact the sustainability of the direct Kolkata-London weekly flight operated by Air India. Public relations executive Nabamita Adhikari, who is all set to travel to London on October 10 with her children Aaradhya and Aaditri, is absolutely distraught. “We have booked tickets for the Disney’s hit West End musical Aladdin at London’s Hammersmith. But now, despite being vaccinated, we have to stay in home quarantine for 10 days. This is ridiculous,” fumed Adhikari.
Retired bank executive Tapan Roy, who was planning a trip to London to visit his sons Somak and Subhayu, is also bewildered with the decision of the UK government. He has questioned how the UK can deny recognition to a vaccine that is approved by the World Health Organisation. “This smacks of a racist approach towards a developing nation. For anyone travelling to the UK for a couple of weeks, getting quarantined for 10 days does not make any sense,” he said. Travel Agents Federation of India chairman (east) Anil Punjabi is planning to submit a memorandum to the British Deputy High Commission in Kolkata, demanding a change in the policy. “There are so many Kolkatans, who have relatives and friends in the UK. The VFR traffic is huge. Everything will be jeopardised by this. Even the future of the Air India London-Kolkata flight now hangs in balance,” he said.
Travel Agent Association of India chairman (east) Manav Soni feels that the UK government can at least waive the quarantine requirement after a Covid test on arrival.
“Once the report is negative, a traveller should be allowed to exit the quarantine,” he said.