The UK government has recently announced a requirement for passengers entering from China to present a negative COVID-19 test taken within two days prior to departure, starting on January 5th. This has been implemented in other countries, such as the US, India, France, South Korea, and Spain, and is a response to a recent increase of infections in China. Airlines must check all passengers on outbound flights from China and no one will be allowed to board without a negative test result.
The measure has been met with criticism from Chinese media, who have labeled it as “discriminatory”. Data from Singapore has provided evidence that the variants China is dealing with have been in the UK for months. Chinese ambassador to the UK, Zheng Zeguang, wrote in an article for The Guardian that China has been putting people and their lives first in an effort to contain the virus. He noted that China has successfully avoided the widespread prevalence of the original strain and the Delta variant, and has greatly reduced severe cases and mortality. Zheng also expressed that China's consumer demand will be released, investor confidence will be boosted, and the economy will rebound strongly.
Overall, the UK government has taken a proactive stance in an effort to reduce the spread of the virus by requiring travelers from China to provide a negative COVID-19 test result prior to boarding a flight. Chinese media has criticized the measure as discriminatory, however, data has confirmed the presence of the variants in the UK for months. Chinese Ambassador Zheng Zeguang noted the success of China in containing the virus and its expected economic rebound. It remains to be seen how effective this measure will be in limiting the spread of COVID-19.