England to End Pre-Departure COVID-19 Test Rule for Arrivals From China

By Reuters
March 19, 2023UK
England to End Pre-Departure COVID-19 Test Rule for Arrivals From China
A flight carrying passengers from China is seen before landing at RAF Brize Norton near Oxford, Britain, on Jan. 31, 2020. (Dylan Martinez/Reuters)

LONDON—The British government said it would end the requirement for people flying from mainland China to England to provide proof of a negative pre-departure COVID-19 test from April 5.

From Friday, the UK Health Security Agency’s voluntary, on-arrival testing program of travelers arriving from China to London’s Heathrow airport will also end, the government said.

“The removal of these measures comes as China has increased information sharing regarding testing, vaccination, and genomic sequencing results, providing greater transparency on their domestic disease levels,” the health department said in a statement.

The temporary measures were introduced in January, with the Heathrow testing aimed at helping strengthen Britain’s ability to rapidly detect potential new variants circulating in China.

The government said a total of 3,374 had been tested as part of this program to date, an average of 99 people per flight. In all, 14 positive cases were identified, none of which were variants of concern.

The latest international data indicates the COVID-19 variants observed in China continue to be the same as those already circulating in the UK, it added.

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