UAE-UK flights: Quarantine-free travel for those vaccinated with Sinopharm begins Nov 22

Fully inoculated passengers with Covaxin also exempted from self-isolation

by Dhanusha Gokulan

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Photo: File
Photo: File

Published: Tue 9 Nov 2021, 10:47 AM

UK- bound passengers who have taken the Sinopharm, Sinovac, and India’s Covaxin jabs can travel quarantine-free to Britain starting 4 am on November 22.

The list of approved Covid-19 vaccines for UK-bound travel from UAE will be updated later this month, the British government announced Monday.

Passengers who are under-18 and travelling to England will be treated as fully vaccinated at the border and will be exempt from self-isolation requirements on arrival, day eight testing and pre-departure testing. Passengers will only be required to take one post-arrival test and a confirmatory free PCR test if they test positive.

The new reforms are among the most liberal travel regulations announced by the UK government following the global lockdowns in March 2020, travel experts told Khaleej Times.

“From 4 am on Monday November 22, the UK government will recognise vaccines on the World Health Organization’s Emergency Use Listing (WHO EUL). As a result, Sinovac, Sinopharm Beijing and Covaxin will be added to our list of approved vaccines for inbound travel, benefitting more fully vaccinated people from countries such as the UAE, Malaysia and India,” said a joint statement issued by the UK Departments of Transport and Health and Social Care.

“The US also recognises the vaccines on the WHO EUL for inbound travel,” added the statement.

“Passengers who have been fully vaccinated and have received their vaccine certificate from one of over 135 approved countries and territories are not required to take a pre-departure test, day eight test or self-isolate upon arrival,” said the statement.

Instead, passengers will just need to pay for a lateral flow test to take before the end of their second day, post-arrival.


From Monday, November 22, the UK will recognise the following vaccines: Pfizer BioNTech, Oxford AstraZeneca (including Covishield), Moderna and Janssen (Johnson and Johnson), and WHO EUL including Sinovac, Sinopharm Beijing and Covaxin.

“This comes as the government simplifies travel rules for all under-18s coming to England who will be treated as fully vaccinated at the border and will be exempt from self-isolation requirements on arrival, day eight testing and pre-departure testing,” added the statement.

UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said, “As we continue to recover from the pandemic and expand our recognition of international vaccines, today’s announcements mark the next step in our restart of international travel.”

“By also simplifying the rules for international travel for all under-18s coming to England, we’re bringing further good news for families looking to unite with loved ones, and another great boost for the travel sector,” he added.

Meanwhile, Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid, said, “The announcement is another step forward for the travel industry, businesses and for family and friends wanting to reunite or go abroad. The red list and quarantine system remain vital in protecting our borders and as we’ve said we will not hesitate to take action by adding countries to the red list if necessary.”

“The government keeps its border measures under review, including the red list, and will impose restrictions should there be a need to do so to protect public health,” said Javid.

The WHO EUL Procedure was brought in during the 2014 Ebola outbreak to assess vaccines for use and to support countries in accessing vaccines (and other selected products) during public health emergencies. Sinovac, Sinopharm Beijing and Covaxin are covered by the expansion to the WHO EUL, and around 1 billion doses of these vaccines have been delivered worldwide.

“The news follows the recent removal of all countries and territories from the red list, though managed quarantine policy remains in place and we will continue to review the red list every three weeks,” added the statement.

Dhanusha Gokulan
Dhanusha Gokulan

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