Covid tests for arrivals from China defended by Tory health committee chairman

For free actual time breaking information alerts despatched straight to your inbox signal as much as our breaking information emailsSign as much as our free breaking information emailsThe Government’s determination to require travellers from China to supply a detrimental Covid take a look at earlier than flying to the UK has been defended by the chairman of the Commons Health and Social Care Committee.The announcement on Friday brings the UK into line with a rising variety of nations – together with the US, Italy, India and Japan – in imposing new controls as Beijing reopens its borders.Some scientists have mentioned such measures are unlikely to stop new variants reaching the UK, and former Tory chief Sir Iain Duncan Smith has expressed concern it might mark step one on a return to home controls.

This would not be taking place if China was upfront and open and shared its information as many, many different nations doSteve BrineNonetheless committee head Steve Brine, a Conservative MP and former health minister, dismissed solutions the Government was making an attempt to “ban” the virus and mentioned the measures had been solely needed as a result of Chinese authorities wouldn’t share their information with different nations.“We aren’t repeating the Beijing folly of an unattainable zero-Covid coverage. We aren’t screening it out on the border,” he advised the BBC Radio 4 Today programme.“What we’re doing is introduce some pre-departure testing which can merely assist cut back the variety of infectious folks on the flight and subsequently arriving within the UK.“This wouldn’t be taking place if China was upfront and open and shared its information as many, many different nations do.“This isn’t about reintroducing home restrictions on this nation. We have a largely efficiently vaccinated inhabitants. We have way back discovered to stay with Covid. There is not any creep right here.”Under the measures introduced by Health Secretary Steve Barclay, from Thursday passengers flying from China into England might be required to take a Covid take a look at earlier than travelling.The Government can even perform surveillance testing of a pattern of passengers to attempt to spot new variants which might pose a risk to folks within the UK.There aren’t any direct flights from China to Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland however ministers have mentioned they’re working with the devolved administrations to implement the measures UK-wide.The transfer comes as Beijing prepares to begin reissuing passports and visas for abroad journeys after the lifting of its zero-Covid controls which has seen an enormous surge in infections.The chairman of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, Professor Sir Andrew Pollard, has warned that “making an attempt to ban a virus” by means of journey restrictions had “already been proven to not work very nicely”.Sir Iain reportedly warned it might be a the beginning of a “slippery slope” resulting in “a spiral of additional tests and extra lockdowns” which might be a “catastrophe” for the financial system.Mr Barclay, nonetheless, mentioned the Government was taking a “balanced and precautionary method” to permit time to evaluate the brand new information.The UK Health Security Agency chief medical adviser, Professor Susan Hopkins, mentioned to this point the proof advised the upsurge in China was on account of low pure immunity and decrease vaccine uptake moderately than new variants.“In order to enhance our intelligence, we’re enhancing our surveillance, along with our present routine testing protocol,” she mentioned.

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