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10 January 2023
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Measures to improve COVID surveillance from China

On 9 January, the government confirmed via a written ministerial statement to Parliament that it had taken action, under powers within the Public Health (Control of Diseases) Act 1984, to limit the risk of COVID-19 infections from travellers originating from China.

The government has announced these precautionary and temporary measures to improve the UK’s ability to detect potential new variants of COVID-19 from China, following an increase in cases there and the easing of their border measures from 8 January.

On 30 December 2022, the government announced that it would require people flying directly or indirectly from mainland China to England to provide proof of a COVID-19 negative pre-departure test, taken within two days of departure. This came into effect at 4:00am on 5 January. This applies to transiting passengers, as well as those whose final destination is England.

In addition, the government announced that the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) will launch surveillance which will see a sample of passengers from China, arriving at Heathrow airport only, undertaking polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests for COVID-19 on a voluntary basis. UKHSA activated this process yesterday (8 January) in readiness for the first flights arriving later this week.

Whilst public health is a devolved matter and these measures currently apply only in England, the government continues to work closely with the devolved administrations.

Written statement:



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