Malawi will from 22nd November join the list of approved countries whose COVID-19 certificates will be accepted as proof of vaccination for its citizens travelling to England.
This is according to a communication from the United Kingdom government Departments for Transport and Health and Social Care which was last updated on 18th November 2021.
To qualify under the fully vaccinated rules for travel to England, one must have proof of full vaccination with a full course of approved vaccines.
The proof must have been issued by either: the United Nations vaccine programme for staff and volunteers or one of the countries or territories on the approved list.
Previously, Malawi was in the category of red list countries not allowed to enter England whose citizens were subjected to book a quarantine hotel before they could be granted entry.
These restrictions came into effect on 15th February, 2021, for persons travelling to UK who were expected to quarantine in an assigned hotel room for ten days upon their arrival in line with the measures introduced by the British government.
Additionally, before travelling there, individuals had to book a quarantine package costing £1, 750 per person an equivalent of K1.75 million which by Malawian standards was on the higher side.
The UK government imposed a £1,000 fine to any international on arrival who did not take a mandatory Coronavirus test and a £5,000 fine rising to £10,000 for those who did not quarantine in a designated hotel.
In his virtual address during one of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) side events, the Global Covid Summit, President Lazarus Chakwera spoke against the exploitation of COVID-negative and fully vaccinated travellers to some parts of the first world by developed nations.
“The pandemic will end, but not by exploiting Covid-negative and fully vaccinated travellers with forced quarantine fees.
“The pandemic will end, but not by vaccination and travel protocols that perpetuate and further widen rather than close the historic inequalities between North and South,” stated the Malawi leader.
The UK through its Transport secretary Grant Shapps, additionally unveiled rules refusing COVID-19 certificates from African countries on 17th September, describing them as “a new simplified system for international travel".
However, the development did not amuse African governments who accused the Boris Johnson administration of double standards.
Dr. John Nkengasong, head of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) is on record to have questioned the rationale of sending COVID-19 shots to Africa but would not recognize those who have had them as being vaccinated.
He told a news briefing it was "a message that creates confusion within our population. creating more reticence, reluctance for people to receive vaccines.
"This message doesn't really speak to solidarity and co-operation that we all believe are the cornerstone and ingredients for us to emerge from this pandemic together."
There is some good news as the recent communication has included Oxford/AstraZeneca and Johnson and Johnson which Malawi has been using to vaccinate its people as some of the approved vaccines which a prospective traveler must have had a complete course at least 14 days before arrival in England.
“If you were vaccinated with a 2 dose vaccine (Moderna, Pfizer BioNTech, Oxford AstraZeneca, or a combination of them), you must have had both doses to be considered fully vaccinated for travel to the UK. This applies in all cases, even if you’ve recently recovered from COVID-19 and have natural immunity.”
“Malawi will be added to this list 4am, 22 November. If you arrive in England before then, you must follow the rules for people who do not qualify as fully vaccinated for travel to the UK.
“Proof of vaccination status will be via vaccine certificate”.