England to Require Negative Test for Arrivals from China
Passengers arriving in England from China will have to provide a negative Covid test before they board a flight, ministers have confirmed.
It comes as several nations announced they would be screening travellers from China after cases surged following Beijing’s decision to relax its zero-Covid policy.
China has said it will fully reopen its borders on 8 January.
Several countries, including the US, France and India, have imposed testing.
The Department of Health and Social Care said people travelling from China on direct flights from 5 January will be asked to take a “pre-departure Covid test.”
From 8 January, the UK Health Security Agency will also launch surveillance, which will see a sample of passengers arriving from China tested for the virus as they arrive.
Health Secretary Steve Barclay said the government was taking a “balanced and precautionary approach,” adding the measures were “temporary” as officials assess the latest Covid data.
The testing requirement only applies to people flying to English airports, with the government saying that while there are no direct flights from China to Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, it is working with the devolved administrations to ensure the policy is applied UK-wide.
Real Time Information
The World Health Organization, WHO, has called on Beijing to share “real-time” information on Covid – including on deaths, hospitalisations and vaccinations.
The UN body said it was willing to offer support on data-sharing, adding that it was “understandable” that some countries were now imposing fresh restrictions.
China’s foreign ministry said earlier this week that its “epidemic situation” overall was “predictable and under control.”
“The Chinese government is reporting about 5,000 cases a day, but analysts say such numbers are vastly undercounted – and the daily caseload may be closer to one million.”
The true toll of daily cases and deaths in China is unknown as officials have “stopped requiring cases to be reported,” and changed classifications for Covid deaths.
The UK government said its decision was due to a “lack of comprehensive health information shared by China.”
BBC /Jide Johnson