UPDATE: The EU suggests that all member states impose restrictions on travellers from China

Travellers from China who test positive not required to isolate despite pressure on NHS

COVID-19 test - Image Seventyfour /Shutterstock.com

22:10 (January 4) – The EU has following updated information from a number of member states, suggesting that each country should implement restrictions on travellers arriving from China.

A spokesperson for the EU said that with COVID-19 data from China unreliable member states should seek to impose their own travel restrictions, however, they would not be imposing a bloc-wide requirement at this stage.

The advice comes on the same day France announces that one in three passengers arriving from China is positive, although they say they have not yet detected any variants that are not already prevalent in Europe.

Similar results are being noted in Italy where a testing regime has been in place for some time. No data is as yet available from the UK, who has chosen to undertake random testing only from January 5.

15:48 (January 3) – Despite massive pressure on the NHS and requests to wear masks or stay at home if ill, the UK is still going to allow Chinese travellers who test positive into the country without the need to isolate.

According to the Guardian on Tuesday, January 3 citing the transport secretary the COVID-19 status of travellers from China is only required for “surveillance.”

Airlines will be required to check that travellers have a negative test before departure, in addition to which random samples will be taken from passengers arriving after the 8th. But that rule only applies to England, travel being a devolved matter, and will not result in the person being denied entry.

Transport Secretary Mark Harper said that the decision to only collect data is in line with the U.S. which agrees that the data from China cannot be relied on. He told LBC they won´t be required to isolate: “Because what we are doing is we are collecting that information for surveillance purposes.

“But, look, one in 45 people in the United Kingdom has got COVID’19 at the moment.”

He added: “We manage COVID-19 now by making sure we have got very high levels of vaccination that is why people who are at risk, older members of the community, for example, should make sure they get their fourth booster shot this winter.

That is how we protect people from COVID-19, that is our primary line of defence.

“The policy for arrivals from China is primarily about collecting information that the Chinese government are not sharing with the international community.”

Harper was highly critical of the lockdown restrictions at the height of the pandemic and has said he believes that the approach we have now is a “sensible balance proposition.”

He added: “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.

“We are doing two things: we are requiring people who fly from China to have a pre-departure test so they have got to show that they are negative before they get on that flight, and when they get to the United Kingdom the UK Health Security Agency will take a sample of passengers and test them.

“That is so that we get that information into our health system and we can track the virus that is coming from China.

“That, I think, is a very sensible, balanced proposition, which I think helps keep people in the UK safe but doesn’t put any restrictions on how people in the UK are able to operate.”

Reiterating the advice this morning from the UK Health Security Agency he said: “First of all, you should stay at home if you think you have got COVID-19 or you have got flu – actually the most sensible thing to do is to not go out and spread it.

“If you do go out, clearly wearing a mask is very sensible if you are ill.

“But we manage these illnesses now by vaccination. People should get vaccinated for COVID-19, they should also get a flu vaccination.”

He finished by saying: “We have seen very high levels of flu this winter.”

However, not everyone agrees with the view that because China does not share data as one would expect them to, it is sensible to allow someone into the country who tests positive and whose vaccination status is not checked.

Critics remind the transport secretary that the pandemic emanated in China and that simply recording the status of travellers who test positive is not sufficient to safeguard the country against further mutations.

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Written by

Peter McLaren-Kennedy

Originally from South Africa, Peter is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at editorial@euroweeklynews.com.