According to an announcement made last week, travellers coming into the UK from mainland China will no longer be required to take a Covid pre-departure test beginning next month.
Following the recent release of information from China concerning the reopening of the Chinese border for the first time since the beginning of the Covid pandemic, the UK government has stated that entry rules for travellers coming from mainland China will be dropped.
From 23:59 on the 4th of April 2023, the rule for travellers from China to provide evidence of a negative pre-departure test taken will no longer apply. This includes travellers returning from mainland China as well as travellers visiting from China. Th FCDO revealed this change of rules on Friday the 17th of March and has since updated the Foreign Travel Advice page to reflect this.
“Since 5 January 2023, if you travel (or return) from mainland China to England you must take a pre-departure Covid-19 test. These rules for passengers travelling to England from mainland China will end at 23:59 BST, 4 April. If you plan to pass through another country to return to the UK, check the travel advice for the relevant country,” the FCDO said.
The need for travellers from China to take a pre-departure test before travelling was reintroduced by the UK government on the 5th of January this year in reaction to a rise in Covid cases in China. According to the UK government, following that rule placement, an average of 99 people per flight had been tested, coming to a total of 3,374 travellers getting tested over the course of a couple of months. Of these travellers, 14 travellers tested positive for Covid, however, none of these cases were deemed a variant of concern.
Next to the drop of the pre-departure test requirement, the Department of Health and Social Care claimed that, from the 17th of March, travellers over the age of 18 that arrive in Heathrow Airport from China will ‘no longer be invited to take a voluntary test on arrival’. However, it was emphasised that any travellers arriving in the UK from China via another country must check the entry requirements and advice for the country they are passing through.
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