The government has announced that travellers arriving from mainland China to England will need to submit a negative pre-departure coVID test.
In recent days, a growing number of countries, including the US have announced similar rules.
According to the Department of Health and Social Care, the temporary and precautionary change will take effect on 5 January.
After it removed some of its notoriously hard coronavirus rules such as regular PCR testing, there has been an increase in the number of infections in China.
There are concerns that it could increase global cases, as its border controls will be relaxed next week.
According to leaked notes, officials estimate that 250 million people could have contracted the virus within the first 20 days.
Shanghai, China’s largest city, had 5.43 Million positive cases last week among its 25,000,000 residents.
Because asymptomatic cases cannot be recorded anymore, the true number could be much higher.
New rules regarding Chinese arrivals have been introduced in India, Spain, Italy and Japan.
France’s transport minister stated Friday that changes would be made starting January 1.
Before flying from China, negative tests will be required. Masks must be worn and tests will take place upon arrival in France.
Different countries have different COVID regulations
US: The US will require Chinese travellers to take mandatory COVID-19 test starting on the 5th of January. Two days prior to departure from Macau, Hong Kong, or the mainland, all passengers two years old and older will need to submit a negative test. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Americans should reconsider traveling to these places.
JAPAN Upon arrival from mainland China, travellers will need to pass a COVID-19 negative test. Anyone who tests positive will need to be quarantined for seven days. At midnight on the 30th of December, new border measures will be in effect for China. Airline requests to increase their flights to China will be limited by the government.
INDIA – From January 1, people who travel to India from China or Hong Kong, Japan and South Korea must have a negative COVID and upload it to an Indian government website.
ITALIA: The country has ordered COVID-19 virus sequencing and antigen swabs for all Chinese travelers. Malpensa airport in Milan has begun testing all passengers coming from Shanghai and Beijing.
TAIWAN – All passengers flying direct from China and arriving by boat on two islands off the coast of Taiwan will need to undergo PCR testing upon arrival.
SOUTH COREA: Before departing, all Chinese tourists must submit a negative COVID result.
SPAIN People traveling from China to Spain must test negative for COVID, or show proof that they are fully vaccinated against it.
MALAYSIA – The country will check the body temperature of all travellers arriving from China. Those with fever or other symptoms will also be tested for COVID. It will also test for coronavirus in wastewater collected from flights arriving from China and conduct tests to identify any new variants.
FRANCE. From January 1, 2018, negative tests will be required before flying from China. Masks must be worn onboard and the plane will also undergo tests upon arrival in France.
COUNTRIES STUDYING THE SITUATION
AUSTRALIA Prime Minister Anthony Albanese stated that Australia would continue to monitor China’s situation “as we continue monitoring the impact of COVID both here in Australia and around the globe”.
PHILIPPINES. The country is “very cautious” about China and could place testing requirements, but not a ban, said Jaime Bautista, transportation secretary.
According to the European Union’s Health Agency, mandatory screenings for Chinese travellers is not justified.
Will Quince, the UK’s health minister, stated that the “key threat” to the country was the possibility of new variants. However, experts agree that travel restrictions will not be effective in such an environment.
Today’s announcement was met with anger by the Tory MP for South Thanet Craig Mackinlay who stated that he opposed “new, creeping moves toward restrictions & lockdowns”, but that “preventing entry into positive cases is a sensible step”.
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China rejected criticisms of its COVID data, and stated that it expected future mutations to potentially be more transmissible, but less severe.
International travellers will be able to leave the country without having to go through quarantine. This is effective from 8 January. Due to the large number of infectious diseases in the country, it is unlikely that this requirement will be any longer effective.
However, all incoming travelers will need to pass a negative screening before they can leave.
China’s relaxation of rules was followed by a rare round of protests which appeared to shock its leaders.
Due to the low vaccination rate for elderly and vulnerable persons, there are concerns that China could see an increase in the number of cases.