A sample of travellers travelling from China into London’s Heathrow Airport will be invited to acquire a PCR examination for COVID-19 on arrival. These exams will assist us to far better understand any variants that may well be present in any optimistic scenarios.
Why are we only tests arrivals from China?
China is now suffering from its largest and most severe COVID-19 wave since the start off of the pandemic. This coincides with China easing some of the border steps it had set in location during the pandemic, which had integrated boundaries on the numbers of travellers permitted on global flights.
There are far less publicly readily available COVID-19 genomes shared from China compared to the Uk. The possibility to carry out genomic screening on samples provided by some of the incoming travellers is consequently critical, as it will assist us to far better fully grasp what COVID-19 variants are circulating in persons arriving to the United kingdom from China.
Why are we screening a sample of people?
The checks staying presented on arrival are for surveillance reasons only and are supposed to assistance us develop a much more complete picture of the COVID-19 scenario around the globe. We only will need to exam a sample of travellers (we are inviting 20% of arrivals to just take aspect) to achieve a consultant photograph that is beneficial for this reason.
Though the arrival checks will not have an affect on specific passengers’ onward journeys, anyone travelling to England from mainland China from 5th January 2023 will also be necessary to choose a COVID-19 check right before they depart and should exhibit proof of a adverse result in advance of staying permitted to board a flight.
Must we be nervous about new variants?
UKHSA now has various systems in put to detect and check the distribute and prevalence of COVID-19 variants at property, and our information is shared rapidly to help assist health protection attempts throughout the world.
There is very little in the publicly readily available facts to propose that there are any new variants at this time circulating in China, but the actions we are putting in put at Heathrow will even more boost our surveillance capabilities and support us to place variants of problem rapidly if any do occur.
How to guard yourself and some others
Vaccination is nevertheless the very best way to shield by yourself in opposition to becoming severely unwell with COVID-19, so it’s as important as at any time to acquire up any doses when you’re qualified. If you’ve been presented a booster this winter and have not yet appear forward, there is nevertheless time to ebook an appointment.
As we recommended last April as element of Living with COVID, you ought to attempt to stay property when you have signs and symptoms of respiratory infections which includes flu and COVID-19 and if you do have to go out, wear a confront masking. There has been no modify in this information which continues to be in location as a smart precautionary measure when you are unwell.
You can also enable to protect by yourself and many others by covering your nose and mouth when you cough and sneeze, washing your palms routinely and cleaning surfaces this sort of as door handles and gentle switches.
You must notably prevent meeting folks at bigger threat of getting very seriously unwell from COVID-19, especially those people with a weakened immune procedure. Full assistance on dwelling securely with respiratory infections can be discovered here.