Health Travel

New travel rules for people arriving in the UK from China

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The UK Government has joined a growing list of countries to announce a series of new measures to detect potential new variants of COVID-19 from China, following a rise in cases and ahead of Chinese borders reopening next week.

Airlines will be required to check that passengers from China have a negative PCR or lateral flow test before departure (taken no more than 2 days before travel), with travellers required to show evidence of a negative test from today (Thursday, 5 January). 

This applies to all direct and indirect flights originating from mainland China. An indirect flight involves stops in one or more other countries or territories before arriving in England. This includes if you are travelling through Hong Kong or Macao. It applies if England is your final destination, or if you will be transiting through England. Any travellers who test positive will be unable to board.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) will also launch surveillance from Monday, 8 January, which will see a sample of passengers arriving in England from China tested for the virus as they arrive.

If you have made travel plans that may be affected, for example returning to China for Chinese New Year, you should continue to check the latest advice from your travel provider and the UK Government COVID website

If you are a taught student and concerned that you may not be able to attend an exam or be present at the start of Semester 2, please contact your School and submit a mitigating circumstances request. If you are a postgraduate researcher, you should contact your supervisor about your delayed return.

The best form of defence against the virus remains the vaccines. Eligible people can book their vaccination via the NHS App, or the national booking service. Alternatively, you can get a dose of the vaccine from a walk-in centre, where you can turn up without an appointment. You do not need to be registered with a GP (family doctor).
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