Passengers from China set to need a negative Covid test before entering the UK amid surging cases
- Passengers arriving from China to the UK will need to have negative Covid test
- It will bring Britain in line with Italy, the US, Spain and Israel, among others
- Sources say the move will be put in place as a precautionary measure
Passengers arriving to the UK from China will need a negative Covid test before they travel following surging cases of the virus in the country.
The Government is set to make the announcement about the need for pre-departure Covid tests later.
The move will bring the UK in line with other countries around the world, such as Israel, Spain and Italy, who have announced they would impose Covid tests for travellers from China.
The UK Government was resisting calls to introduce testing but is now making new arrangements.
Italy began screening all new arrivals from China for Covid after health officials found half of passengers on two flights into Milan from the nation were infected. Pictured: Milan airport today
The Our World in Data graph shows the daily confirmed Covid cases in China. The Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention last week stopped reporting daily cases, without providing a reason. It reported around 5,000 cases per day last week and a small number of deaths. However, some estimates suggest China is actually experiencing one million cases per day and 5,000 deaths
Sources say the move is precautionary and has been prompted over concerns over China’s transparency with the vaccine and data.
It comes amid fears that Beijing has under-reported its cases and withheld virus samples, reducing the likelihood of any new variant being spotted.
Scientists have urged the hardline state to share more genetic sequences to check for any signs of a new variant, amid warnings a new mutation could prove more aggressive, and that existing vaccines might be less efficient against it.
Pictured: A Covid patient being moved on a wheelchair at Tianjin First Center Hospital in Tianjin, north east China, on December 28
A medical worker attends to a patient at the emergency department of Ganyu District People’s Hospital in Lianyungang, north east China, on December 28, amid the Covid outbreak
Masked travellers check their passports as they line up at the check-in desk at Beijing Capital International airport today
Former World Health Organisation epidemiologist Daniel Lopez-Acuna said he believed Western countries should insist on negative PCR test results before accepting travellers from China, to reduce the risk of transmission.
Even countries with high rates of immunisation could be at risk, he said, as existing vaccines might be less powerful against a potential new variant.
He told the BBC World Service: ‘The risk of the high transmission in China is the emergence of a new variant that could escape through the vaccine efficacy and could be more aggressive and more virulent.’
China has reportedly shared fewer than 1,000 Covid virus samples with the international scientific community over the past month, despite a rapid rise in cases after it eased lockdown measures.
However, officials estimated 250 million people are likely to have contracted the virus in the first 20 days of December, according to leaked notes.
Last week, China’s biggest city Shanghai, had 5.43 positive tests within its population of 25 million residents.
On January 8, China will bring to the end its own restrictions for passengers, which have been in place for nearly three years.
It’s Zero-Covid policy will come to an end with the country saying it will fully reopen its borders for the first time since March 2020.
This means international travellers will not have to quarantine upon entering the country.
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