China arrivals won’t face compulsory Covid tests

Britain last week had said that passengers arriving in Britain from China would require a negative COVID test taken no more than two days prior to departure after a surge in infections in China…reports Asian Lite News

Passengers from China who arrive in the United Kingdom next week will not face compulsory COVID-19 tests on arrival.

Testing at Heathrow Airport will be voluntary and those who test positive will neither be quarantined nor ordered to self-isolate, the report added.

Britain last week had said that passengers arriving in Britain from China would require a negative COVID test taken no more than two days prior to departure after a surge in infections in China.

A new COVID variant could be the one to “watch out for” this year after a surge in cases in the US, an expert has said.

Tim Spector, professor of genetic epidemiology at King’s College London, highlighted an Omicron variant after a scientist said cases had more than doubled in America in a week.

More than 40% of COVID cases in the US are now caused by the XBB.1.5 variant, according to data from the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) from Friday.

In the northeast of the US, about 75% of confirmed cases are reported to be XBB.1.5.

US scientist Eric Topol said it is now out-competing all variants and “we’ve not seen such rapid growth of a variant” since the original Omicron emerged a year ago.

In response, Prof Spector, the founder of the COVID Zoe app, tweeted: “XBB could be the new variant to watch out for .. in 2023.”

XBB.1.5 is a mutated version of Omicron XBB, which was first detected in India in August.

XBB has been found in at least 70 countries, according to the World Health Organisation, causing surges of infection in some parts of Asia, including India and Singapore, in October.

Studies have found that the strain is capable of evading antibodies from previous COVID infections or vaccinations.

Concern about XBB.1.5 is largely based on how it is currently spreading in the US and it has not been listed as a variant of concern by the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA).

Some 4% of all UK COVID cases were of the XBB 1.5 variant, figures from Cambridge’s Sanger Institute show for the week to Saturday 17 December.

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