The UK Government has announced that travellers from China must produce a negative pre-departure Covid-19 test before entering the country, in line with other nations who have imposed new controls upon China reopening its borders.
Some scientists argue that such measures are unlikely to prevent new variants reaching the UK, whilst concerns have been raised that this could mark the first step on a return to domestic controls.
Steve Brine, a Conservative MP and former health minister, dismissed these concerns, stating that the measures are necessary as Chinese authorities would not share their data with other countries.
Rishi Sunak, UK Chancellor of the Exchequer, announced a major U-turn on Friday by imposing checks on travellers from China from 5 January, following criticism from a growing number of Conservative MPs.
The Government's decision is expected to require a negative pre-departure test for Covid-19, reflecting similar measures taken by the US, Italy, India, Taiwan, and South Korea.
Beijing's announcement on plans to reissue passports and visas for overseas travel has raised concerns about surging case numbers and a wave of infections, prompting action from other nations.
Some MPs remain skeptical about the effectiveness of travel restrictions against new variants, whilst others argue that transparency from Chinese authorities would have mitigated the need for such measures.
Steve Brine, the chair of the Commons health and social care committee, welcomed the announcement and defended the Government's decision, stating that the problem lay with China's lack of data sharing.
Overall, there are divisions among experts and politicians, with some arguing that these steps are necessary whilst others suggest that they will not make any difference.