London, Jan 3 (IANS) People arriving in the UK from China will not be required to self-isolate if they test positive for Covid-19, the Transport Secretary has said, according to a media report.
Covid cases in China continue to surge after Beijing’s abrupt decision to end most of its severe pandemic restrictions, The Guardian reported.
The UK government has said that airlines will be required to check that passengers from China have a negative Covid test before departure, with travellers required to show evidence of their negative result, the report said.
The UK Health Security Agency will also initiate surveillance from January 8, in which a samples of passengers arriving in England from China will be tested for the virus as they arrive.
The decision will affect England only, because travel is a devolved matter. However, all direct flights from China land in England.
The order is designed to align with the US policy, and is being made because the government believes there is a lack of reliable data from China.
Asked on Tuesday if travellers arriving in the UK from China who test positive for Covid would be required to quarantine, Transport Secretary Mark Harper told LBC: “No, because what we are doing is we are collecting that information for surveillance purposes. But, look, one in 45 people in the United Kingdom have got Covid at the moment.
“The policy for arrivals from China is primarily about collecting information that the Chinese government are not sharing with the international community.”
Harper, a vocal critic of coronavirus restrictions from the backbenches at the height of the pandemic, said the government has created a “sensible, balanced proposition” to deal with the potential spread of Covid from China, The Guardian reported.
He went on: “This is about a country, China, which isn’t sharing the health data with the global health system that we expect everybody to do. That is why we have put this temporary precautionary measure in place as China opens up its borders.”
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