UK, France to require negative Covid-19 tests for arrivals from China

Passengers from China bound for Britain will not be allowed to board a flight without providing evidence of a negative test result. PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON - The UK and France said on Friday that passengers arriving from China would require a negative Covid-19 test, following a surge in infections in China.

From Jan 5 in Britain, Chinese travellers will need to show a negative Covid-19 test taken no more than two days prior to departure, the UK’s Department of Health and Social Care said in a statement.

Separately, France said travellers from China would need to provide a negative Covid-19 test result less than 48 hours before departure, and that travellers on planes arriving from China would also have to wear masks.

France did not set a start date for the measures but will publish a government decree and notify European Union member states.

From Jan 1, France will also carry out random PCR Covid-19 tests upon arrival on some travellers coming from China, a government official told reporters.

The moves come after doubts over the transparency of official data from Beijing raised concerns about a wave of infections.

Britain said airlines will be required to check all passengers from China for tests, and passengers will not be allowed to board a flight without providing evidence of a negative test result.

Britain and France join other countries, including the United States and India, to impose Covid-19 tests for travellers from China.

South Korea and Spain have also done so.

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Britain’s Times and Telegraph newspapers on Friday reported that British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak had weighed in to take the step.

The BBC had earlier reported that the UK government was set to announce the China arrival policy, without providing a specific time.

UK officials had said on Thursday that the government was reviewing whether to impose restrictions on people arriving from China.

Chinese state media on Friday called the imposition of Covid-19 tests by various countries on travellers arriving from China “discriminatory”.

China has rejected criticism of its Covid-19 statistics and said it expects mutations to be more infectious but less severe. REUTERS

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