UK To Require Negative Covid Tests For China Arrivals

More nations are asking those travelling from China to Britain to take a pre-departure Covid test.

In this file photo taken on December 31, 2020, a UK border sign welcomes passengers on arrival at Heathrow airport in west London. Ben FATHERS / AFP

The UK will require travellers from China to show a negative Covid-19 test before boarding, the government said Friday, expressing concern about a lack of data from Beijing on its latest Covid surge.

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It joins a number of other nations in requiring those travelling from China to Britain to take a pre-departure Covid test no more than two days before travelling.

The rule will come into force from January 5.

After nearly three years, China has said it will drop stringent foreign travel curbs next week — despite surging cases, and amid concerns over the accuracy of its data reporting.

The UK government said it would test “a sample of arrivals” to monitor for new variants.

It described the move as “precautionary and temporary”, and due to “a lack of comprehensive health information shared by China”.

The move will mainly affect England as there are no direct flights from China to Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, but the statement said the government was working to make sure the rule is implemented across the UK.

Health secretary Steve Barclay said the measures would allow “scientists at the UK Health Security Agency to gain rapid insight into potential new variants circulating in China”.