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Sunak’s U-turn on China’s Covid tests is a political move, scientists say.coronavirus

Rishi Sunak’s decision to make a U-turn and impose Covid checks on travelers from China was dismissed Saturday night as a purely political ploy that made no difference to the rise or fall of cases in the UK .

Health Secretary Steve Barclay was briefed on Thursday by Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty, who said there was no clear evidence of significant benefits from testing travelers from China. Observer I learned the next day that Barclay had discussed the issue with Snak, who said it was more important for the UK to work with the US, Japan, Italy and Spain, which have already imposed such tests. It was judged.

scientists Observer agreed with Whitty that screening people from China made little difference. They said the number of infected people is already very high in the UK and that airport checks have shown to be unreliable in identifying carriers of the disease.

Chinese travelers exit the arrivals hall at Rome Fiumicino Airport on Saturday.
Chinese travelers exit the arrivals hall at Rome Fiumicino Airport on Saturday. Photo: Filippo Monteforte/AFP/Getty Images

Professor Mark Woolhouse of the University of Edinburgh said: “I think it is unlikely that the UK will see any public health benefit from this measure. “This could only be done for political reasons.”

He was supported by Professor Paul Hunter of the University of East Anglia. This is demonstrated by studies conducted before and after the advent of Covid-19. One study suggests that about 60% of cases are missed with this method. This does not protect the UK population as it will not stop the spread. So it’s hard to understand what you get by imposing these tests. “

This point was corroborated by Woolhouse. But we already know what is spreading rapidly in the United States. Variant XBB.1.5 now accounts for about 40% of its cases, but no one here seems to be concerned. Instead, there’s been a lot of buzz about a hypothetical variant emerging in China. “

British Medical Association co-president Dr Matt Neal said he would welcome anything that could minimize the impact of COVID on the NHS, but added: “I don’t think China should be identified.” rice field.Hospitals already suffered ‘huge burden from Covid, flu and RSV’ [respiratory syncytial virus],” he said.

The British Medical Association also warned that the UK is going into the New Year with the NHS ‘on its knees’. It urged governments to take further action to prevent a “catastrophic rise” in Covid cases.

UK trade unions and professional associations of doctors have stressed that the Covid threat from China isn’t the only thing the UK is worried about, saying the next variant is “as domestic as it is imported”. It’s likely,” he warned.

China’s President Xi Jinping on Saturday made the first public comments on Covid since the government changed course three weeks ago, easing draconian policies, marking a ‘new phase’ in the country’s approach to fighting the pandemic. We called for more effort and unity because we were in. Lockdowns and mass testing.

In a televised speech, he said, “Prevention and control of infectious diseases is now entering a new stage. It is still a period of struggle, everyone is patient and working hard, and the dawn is still ahead.” ‘ said.

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