'UK Held 2 Meetings, Said Didn't Need More Details': RS Sharma on CoWIN Certification Row

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United Kingdom authorities, after holding meetings with CoWIN app officials, had earlier said that there was full understanding of the app’s architecture and raised no objection to the CoWIN certificates, according to R S Sharma, CEO of National Health Authority, which operates the CoWIN app. Sharma told CNN-News18 that two technical meetings were held with UK authorities to understand the software applications of both CoWIN and UK’s National Health System’s app. “We got communication from UK that there was full understanding of CoWin architecture,” he said.

The UK government on Wednesday included Covishield in its list of accepted vaccines but still required vaccinated travellers from India to quarantine themselves for 10 days upon arrival in UK, as per its revised guidelines. The main issue is vaccine certification and not the Covishield vaccine and that both India and the UK are holding talks to mutually resolve the matter, UK officials reportedly said.

Sharma said that the British High Commissioner to India had met him to understand CoWIN app’s architecture. “UK also said that it needs no further details on technical architecture of CoWIN certificate,” said Sharma.

Alex Ellis, British High Commissioner to India, said on Wednesday, “We’re clear that Covishield is not a problem. The UK is open to travel and we’re already seeing a lot of people going from India to the UK, be it tourists, business people or students.”

Ellis said that over 62,500 student visas have been issued in the year ending June 2021, which is an increase of almost 30% as compared to the previous year. “We want to make the process of travelling as easy as possible.”

“We have been having detailed technical discussions regarding certification, with the builders of the CoWIN app and the NHS app, about both apps. They’re happening at a rapid pace, to ensure that both countries mutually recognise the vaccine certificates issued by each other.”

ALSO READ | Nod to Covishield, Not to CoWIN Certificate: UK’s Another Slip Between the Cup and the Lip

In its earlier travel advisory, the UK had not included Covishield vaccine in its list. Covishield is among two vaccines India is using for its vaccination programme.

India had on Tuesday warned of “reciprocal measures” if the UK does not address its concerns over the new travel rules relating to Covid vaccine certification. External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar urged the United Kingdom for an “early resolution of quarantine issue.”

“We are engaging with the Government of India to explore how we could expand UK recognition of vaccine certification to people vaccinated by a relevant public health body in India,” a spokesperson in the British High Commission said on Wednesday.

Covishield is developed jointly by the Oxford University and AstraZeneca and manufactured by Pune-based Serum Institute of India.

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