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UK Won’t Force Travelers From China To Take COVID Test, Self-Isolate: Report

Travelers from China will not be forced to take COVID-19 tests and self-isolate upon arrival in the United Kingdom, according to a report. 

The Independent said Tuesday that plane passengers arriving in the U.K. from China would have the option to take COVID tests on arrival or not. This is in stark contrast to other countries implementing a different approach amid the recent surge in cases in the Asian giant. 

Travelers who would test positive for SARS-CoV-2 at Heathrow airport will neither be quarantined nor forced to self-isolate, as well. 

Meanwhile, in Japan, air passengers who have been in mainland China within the previous seven days will be tested and ordered to quarantine or self-isolate. 

As for the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced last week that it would require travelers flying from China to present a negative COVID-19 test result within two days before boarding their flights. 

The new requirement will be implemented starting Jan. 5 in airports based in the People’s Republic of China and the Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and Macau with flights bound for the U.S. 

The U.K. Health Security Agency (UKHSA) explained that it would begin “surveillance” of arriving flights from China on Jan. 8 in response to the recent surge

The operation will involve testing one in five passengers randomly upon arrival at London Heathrow. In Manchester, the only other landing point from mainland China available, COVID tests would not be administered on arrival. 

“This allows our world-leading scientists at the UK Health Security Agency to gain rapid insight into potential new variants circulating in China. The best defense against the virus, however, remains the vaccine,” health secretary Steve Barclay said.

Experts continue to encourage people to get vaccinated amid the ongoing pandemic to lower their chances of being infected with SARS-CoV-2. 

While the U.K. would not conduct compulsory testing upon arrival, it will not allow passengers who tested positive before boarding in China to travel to the country, Daily Mail reported. 

Health ministers in the U.K. will be on the lookout for the new variant XBB.1.5, dubbed “The Kraken,” during the random testing of passengers. 

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