UK resists COVID testing on travellers from China

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Travellers pass a sign for a COVID-19 test centre at Heathrow Airport, London, Britain, February 13, 2021. REUTERS/Toby Melville

A file picture of a COVID check centre at Heathrow Airport in 2021. The UK has no plans to comply with different international locations which is able to check folks arriving from China. (Reuters)

The UK is continuous to withstand COVID testing on folks travelling from China regardless of a “vehement” surge in instances.

Spain has change into the most recent nation to introduce testing necessities for guests from China, following comparable strikes from international locations together with the US, India, Italy, South Korea and Taiwan.

It comes after China dropped its “zero COVID” strategy of draconian restrictions, leading to a big spike of infections which its former chief epidemiologist, Zeng Guang, mentioned was worse than anticipated. Some 80% of individuals within the capital, Beijing, are mentioned to have been contaminated.

There at the moment are considerations in regards to the influence the unfold could have on the remainder of the world as abroad journeys are once more permitted from subsequent week onwards.

UK ministers, nevertheless, are persevering with to withstand testing on arrivals from China, saying it’s retaining the state of affairs “underneath evaluate”. The EU’s illness prevention company has additionally mentioned screening is “unjustified”.

Watch: China’s leisure of journey restrictions defined

The strategy has been backed by an impartial authorities adviser, who mentioned border restrictions are unlikely to stop new variants reaching the UK.

Prof Andrew Pollard, who chairs the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, mentioned it’s surveillance of the virus throughout the UK that will likely be extra necessary over the approaching weeks.

He informed BBC Radio 4’s Immediately programme on Friday: “Making an attempt to ban a virus by adjusting what we do with journey has already been proven to not work very effectively. We’ve seen that with the bans on journey from varied international locations through the pandemic.

Learn extra: China accused of masking up COVID knowledge amid new variant fears

“The necessary factor is that we have now surveillance that when a virus is spreading inside our inhabitants right here within the UK or Europe we’re in a position to decide that up and predict what would possibly occur with the well being programs and notably the extra susceptible within the inhabitants.”

Prof Pollard added any new variant which did seem in China was probably to be best-adapted to spreading within the Chinese language inhabitants.

“The immunity within the inhabitants at present pertains to vaccines which have been given within the inhabitants during the last couple of years and are totally different to the vaccines we have now had and so they haven’t had the additional immunity from having waves of COVID.

Learn extra: China says Covid journey restrictions imposed by different international locations are ‘discriminatory’ as instances surge

“Testing folks travelling from China most likely doesn’t actually reply the query about whether or not any new variant that’s detected goes to be a drawback right here.”

Dr Package Yates, a College of Tub tutorial who is a component of the Unbiased SAGE group, which scrutinises the UK’s COVID coverage, additionally mentioned testing folks arriving from China could be pointless “whereas we’re doing so little to cut back transmission ourselves”.

Nonetheless, Conservative MP Steve Brine, chair of the Home of Commons well being choose committee, questioned the UK’s strategy on Thursday, saying it could be higher to “over-react than under-react”.

Based on the Workplace for Nationwide Statistics’ (ONS) newest COVID an infection survey, about 1.4 million folks within the UK had COVID within the week ending 7 December.

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