Do people coming from China have to be tested for Covid or not? That’s the question British government officials are pondering as the East Asian country opens up to international travel.
There are fears of an end to nearly three years of austerity. COVID Actions in the country of 1.4 billion people could result in a large-scale spread of the disease worldwide.
So what is the best way? Here’s a guide to the current situation.
What is Britain’s response?
At the moment, the UK government is adopting a wait-and-see approach. It maintains the status quo. “under review” There are no plans to introduce mandatory after first notification. COVID-19 Screening of arrivals from China.
Other nations do this by requiring negative COVID test results two days before departure from mainland China, Hong Kong or Macau (as the US does) and by testing people upon arrival (which is the case in countries such as Italy). have moved on.
So what did Italy find when it tested travelers from China?
The main airport in the Italian city of Milan began testing passengers arriving from Beijing and Shanghai on December 26 and found that about half of them were infected.
Are we risking missing new forms by not testing people from COVID hotspots?
Britain, which was led by Prime Minister Boris Johnson when the pandemic hit in 2020, has been criticized for its handling of the public health crisis, which has been slower than other major countries. Infections that come with Down’s were slow and late to see.
A major concern for scientists and authorities are new strains entering the UK that may be more dangerous and contagious than those already circulating.
Professor Roland Cao, an expert in epidemiology and data science at the University of Edinburgh, told Sky News: “At the moment there is no clear indication that any new strains are emerging from China.
“But the problem we have is that we have so little data from China that we don’t really know what’s going on.”
He added: “Whenever we get a variant in the country from any source or even originating within the country, as has happened in the past, we see an increase in the number of cases.
“These increases in cases ultimately result in an increase in the number of people in the hospital. And we need to be aware of these things, do as much as we can to prepare for them. We can. “
Health Secretary Will Quince added: “The key thing is to look for a new strain, and there is no evidence of a new strain that doesn’t already exist in the UK – but we are reviewing the situation.”
How can we track new mutations entering the UK?
Professor Cao believes that international arrivals should undergo a lateral flow test.
He said: “If you test positive, get a PCR test so we can get the information we need to understand what’s going on. It can’t stop the spread of infection.
“That way we’re going to get very few people, but it’s going to give us data to understand what’s going on. Understand what’s coming into the country, and whether we’re going to get people born or coming from somewhere else. New types should be concerned.”
Former health minister Lord Bethel has urged the government to follow Italy in introducing a COVID test for those arriving from China.
Tory Peer, who was at the post during the pandemic, said the strategy would allow for confidence in the results and genomic testing to understand if any new variants are emerging.
“I think there are two different reasons for bringing in testing — one is the American approach which is pre-testing to reduce the spread. That’s a difficult thing to do because having a virus like COVID is like trying to stop the ocean. Is.
He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, “But what the Italians are doing is monitoring the arrivals in Italy post-flight to understand if there are any emerging patterns and… The impact of the virus on the Italian health system,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.
“This is a sensible thing to do and something the British government should look at seriously.”
How serious is the spread of COVID in China right now?
UK-based health data firm Airfinity estimates that around 9,000 people are dying from COVID-19 every day in China – double the figure from the previous week, with daily infections expected to reach 3.7 million in mid-January. Is.
China officially reported one new COVID death for this Wednesday, down from three on Tuesday, but foreign governments and many epidemiologists believe the number is much higher, and more likely next year. More than a million people could die.
China said it only counts deaths of COVID patients due to pneumonia and respiratory failure as Covid-related.
Its official death toll since the pandemic began is 5,246, compared to more than a million deaths in the United States. More than 11,000 deaths have been reported in Chinese-controlled Hong Kong.
China has dismissed criticism of its statistics as baseless and politically motivated attempts to discredit its policies. he has.
It also downplayed the risk of new strains, saying it expected the mutations to be more dangerous but less severe.
China’s borders have been closed to foreigners since early 2020, soon after the coronavirus first emerged in its capital city of Wuhan, but it has announced that it will allow travelers arriving from January 8. will end the quarantine.
The reopening boosts the prospect of Chinese tourists returning to shopping streets around the world, once a $255bn (£211bn) a year global market.
What is the current COVID situation in the UK?
Earlier this month, there was an increase in COVID infections in England and Scotland, while the trend in Wales and Northern Ireland was uncertain.
A total of 1.4 million people in private households in the UK are expected to test positive for coronavirus during the week of December 9.
That was more than 1.1 million in late November but less than 2 million weekly infections in early October.
Estimates published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) give a snapshot of what was happening in the UK at the start of December, when the coronavirus was starting to spread more widely in the population.
Professor Cao said: “We are definitely better than a year ago, two years ago.”
He said the number of people getting vaccinated now is lower than in previous waves, but they are still “relatively high”.
“The number of people in the hospital is increasing, people with Covid. You add the number of hospitalizations with the flu, other infections like RSV (Sensory Syncytial Virus), and what happens as a result is really, really high. There’s a real strain on NHS capacity, people.”
Meanwhile, the UK Health Security Agency Next month, the COVID modeling will stop publishing data. After about three years.
Increasingly sporadic updates to the virus’s R number will stop on January 6, 2023, with it being deemed “no longer necessary” thanks to vaccines and treatments.
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