‘No plans’ for UK to introduce new Covid test rules for travellers from China

UK Health Security Agency says it will continue monitoring spread of harmful variants

Airline passengers wear face masks in the arrivals hall at Heathrow Airport in London, on December 23.  Bloomberg.
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There are no plans to introduce mandatory Covid tests for visitors from China, a UK Government representative said, after the US became the latest country to impose restrictions.

The US joined Italy, India, Taiwan, South Korea, Malaysia and Japan in announcing new measures after the abrupt end of Beijing’s zero-Covid policy sparked a surge in cases.

“There are no plans to reintroduce Covid-19 testing or additional requirements for arrivals into the UK," the representative said.

They said the UK Health Security Agency would continue to closely monitor the prevalence and spread of harmful variants and keep available international data under review.

In the US, starting on January 5, all travellers from China will be required to take a Covid-19 test no more than two days before travel and provide a negative test before getting on their flight.

The testing applies to anyone two years and older.

The US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention said the surge in infections and a lack of adequate and transparent information from China, including genomic sequencing on the viral strains circulating in the country, were responsible for the decision.

"These data are critical to monitor the case surge effectively and decrease the chance for entry of a novel variant of concern,” the CDC said.

Italy is so far the only country in Europe and EU member state to have set the new Covid-19 rules.

The BBC reported that the European Commission said its health security committee would meet on Thursday to discuss “possible measures for a co-ordinated EU approach” to China’s Covid-19 situation.

Updated: December 29, 2022, 12:40 AM