Covid-19: New travel restrictions + latest numbers

As of this week, new public health rules apply to people travelling to England from mainland China.

Passengers aged 12 and above will need to take a Covid-19 test no more than two days before their travel, and will need to show airlines notification of a negative result when departing mainland China for England.

A test result may be provided as a printed document; or in an email or text message. On arrival in England, Border Force is expected to check these documents, which must be in English, French or Spanish. Travellers may be fined if they do not follow these rules.

The new rules apply to all direct and indirect flights originating from mainland China. This includes travellers transiting through Hong Kong or Macao.

The World Health Organisation has this week accused China of underrepresenting the true number of cases of the virus and even deaths there.

Globally, as at 5th January 2023, there have been 657,430,133 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 6,676,645 deaths, reported to WHO.

According to the ONS, Covid-19 infections continued to increase in England and Scotland and increased in Wales in the week ending 28th December 2022. In Northern Ireland, infections increased in the week ending 22nd December 2022.

Since the end of June 2022, most Covid-19 infections in the UK have been the Omicron variant BA.5 or its sub-lineages, according to official data from the ONS. One of these BA.5 sub-lineages, BQ.1, has been increasing in recent months. In the week ending 18th December 2022, the Omicron BQ.1 variant accounted for 56.2% of all sequenced infections

The estimated percentage of people living in private households testing positive for Covid-19 was:

4.52% in England (1 in 20 people)
5.70% in Wales (1 in 18 people)
6.43% in Northern Ireland (1 in 16 people)
4.05% in Scotland (1 in 25 people)

There are currently no red list restrictions in place for travel to England.

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